When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed Manchester United’s interim boss back in December 2018, there were high hopes for the Norwegian.
The former Old Trafford striker was initially handed the reins on a temporary basis, following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
It was hoped that Solskjaer would bring success back to the club, while United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward predicted that the boss would unite the fans, too.
Speaking after Solskjaer was installed as caretaker boss, Woodward said: “Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles.
“His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back.
“We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”
In his early period as interim boss, it seemed like Solskjaer was on track to prove Woodward’s prediction was right.
He won 14 of his opening 19 games in charge and was appointed as permanent boss.
But things have turned sour recently and Solskjaer faces an uncertain future, with Mauricio Pochettino being touted as his potential replacement.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.
But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.
The question now is whether they can find the right balance?
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Ultimately, Solskjaer has failed to unite the players and the fans – and the pressure is growing on him ahead of Saturday’s tricky trip to Everton.
Indeed, Woodward’s bold claim has ultimately backfired, with fans divided over the manager’s ability to get the best out of his players.
Solskjaer’s reign at United has been characterised by extreme highs and lows but a loss at Goodison Park would raise serious questions about the Norwegian’s future at the club.
It was only two weeks ago that United impressively won away at Paris St Germain in the Champions League and followed up that victory with a 5-0 crushing of RB Leipzig at Old Trafford.
But a lacklustre 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, which left United winless at home in the league this season, was followed by a woeful performance in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Istanbul Basaksehir.
After the game in Turkey, Solskjaer laughed off speculation from pundits such as former United skipper Roy Keane that his players might end up costing him his job.
“I decline to comment on such a thing,” Solskjaer said.
“Of course, it’s early on and opinions are out there all the time. You’ve got to stay strong. I’m employed by the club to do a job and I do that to the best of my ability with my staff.”