Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Save His Manchester United Job?

© REUTERS / DENIS BALIBOUSESeptember 14, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the match
September 14, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the match - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future with Manchester United has reached a tipping point. Reports indicate that United's next three matches against Tottenham, Atalanta, and Manchester City before the November international break will make or break his run as the club's manager. The big question remains: can Solskjaer save his job?
Being a manager at an elite club comes down to one thing - results. All the style and attacking flair in the world won't save a manager if his club cannot consistently claim the three league three points awarded after a win.
Manchester United has spent the past three seasons building a squad that can challenge for the biggest trophies in the sport. The club has spent an estimated €890.23 million, the second-highest figure in the world, assembling the team currently at Solskjaer's disposal. With that level of investment, expectations on the pitch are to win every match. Now, Solskjaer will have to do just that if he wants to hold on to his job.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the 6-1 defeat to Spurs - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
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United's next match, against Tottenham, is essentially a must-win for Solskjaer. Reports suggest that the board will wait until the November international break to determine his future, but that judgment is likely contingent on him beating Tottenham and Atalanta, at the very least.
Fortunately, Tottenham has been just as uninspiring as United this season. While Tottenham sits on 15 points, one more than United, they have gotten there with five one-goal margin victories. In their four losses, they have been outscored ten goals to one. Tottenham is sixth in the table but has played like a solidly midtable side. If Solskjaer wants to keep his job, he needs to beat Tottenham, possibly convincingly.
In United's match against Atalanta in the Champions League, Solskjaer might have more leeway with the result. United is at the top of Group F and away at Atalanta is their most difficult match. A loss, however, combined with poor performance, could be the death blow.
United was lucky to beat an Atalanta side missing five starters at Old Trafford. Solskjaer could maybe weather a draw but a convincing win would take the pressure off the most consequential match of his career.
Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo as he comes off the substitutes bench  during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 2, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.10.2021
Manchester United Have the Talent on the Pitch, but Not on the Sideline
The only match that Solskjaer could conceivably lose and keep his job heading into the international break is against Manchester City. City is one of the best clubs in the world. They're the only squad that was more costly to assemble than United. While the United board could potentially stomach a loss, the performance has to be inspiring.
Manchester City has won the Premier League three of the past four seasons, rewriting the record books along the way. They currently sit in third, but they will be in the title fight. According to expected goals, Manchester City has the best defence and second-best offence in the league. Advanced metrics suggest that they and Liverpool are the two most dangerous sides in the Premier League.
Manchester United, even at Old Trafford, will be significant underdogs in this match. If the United board will only retain Solskjaer if he wins, then the former should have just fired the latter following the Liverpool result. A win would almost assuredly save Solskjaer's job, but the performance will be far more important.
If United is outclassed against City and ekes out a close loss or a draw, it could be enough evidence for the board. This Manchester United squad is built to compete for titles. Hanging on for dear life against the class of the division is not what title challengers do.
May 9, 2021 Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane during the match  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
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For Solskjaer to save his job he needs to first beat Tottenham. He then must secure a result against Atalanta, and likely a win. Finally, against City, United will need to have an inspiring performance. Add it all up and, to stay on as United manager, Solskjaer needs two wins and a powerhouse performance against one of the best teams in the world - no pressure.
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