Manchester United won’t be sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just yet. Especially after Wednesday’s Champions League win over Atalanta, where the player rose as one to back their manager and claim all three points. And, for Antonio Conte, the result is certainly a blow.
Manchester United, in the first half against Atalanta, were poor.
Though Solskjaer insisted he was happy with that display, the fact they found themselves 2-0 down spoke volumes about what those at Old Trafford had to witness.
However, this United team don’t know where they’re beaten. Of all the things Solskjaer has reimplemented at the club, the fighting spirit is perhaps the biggest of all.
Marcus Rashford, back from injury and back to his threatening best, gave United hope when he slotted in following Bruno Fernandes’ pass.
Harry Maguire then drew the Red Devils level, bringing the Stretford End to its feet in the process.
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“I’m told, from somebody who spoke to Conte very recently, that he’s certainly interested in the idea and would love the chance to just pitch to the United board about how he would transform this team and how he would turn them into winners.
“But at the moment, there’s no signs he’s going to get the chance to make that pitch.”
Now, that meeting looks further away than ever.
Already, before the game, United had been briefing that they’d be sticking with Solskjaer no matter what.
And with the Red Devils now having momentum behind them again, it seems as though the 48-year-old will be in charge for the foreseeable future.
The way United players turned it on, just when Solskjaer really needed them to, speaks volumes about how they regard him.
The Norwegian did bristle at suggestions they were ‘playing for him’ after the game but he’d have been delighted at the fighting spirit they displayed.
And Conte, and Zinedine Zidane for that matter, shouldn’t expect their phones to buzz just yet.
Of course, United losing emphatically to Liverpool on Sunday could see the situation change.
But history suggests they still wouldn’t part ways with Solskjaer, especially given his immense popularity.
After all, despite the Red Devils toiling during the entirety of David Moyes’ spell, they still persevered with him until the end of the season.
Louis van Gaal’s second year was, for the most part, lacklustre and uninspiring.
But, still, the Dutchman saw out the campaign.
And Jose Mourinho was only relieved of his duties because he fell out with everybody, from Paul Pogba to Ed Woodward.
United are exactly that under Solskjaer right now. Where that carries them to, however, remains to be seen.
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