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"He's got this Pochettino-shaped spectre hovering over him" - Solskjaer's increasingly unenviable situation

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

10:38 25 Nov 2019

On Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United job security swung from the precipice to promising and then to deflating within a few minutes at Bramall Lane.

Ultimately, Man United drew their six-goal thriller against Sheffield United having fought back from 2-0 down to briefly lead.

But with the newly available Mauricio Pochettino's name lurking in the shadows, Solskjaer's future is back in the spotlight again.

However, as football writer John Brewin pointed out, the fact that three academy products scored on Sunday, works in the manager's favour.

"That's what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's got going for him," he told Off The Ball.

"And when club briefings come out, that's what those within the club are happy about. That idea that youth is being pushed. Sometimes I do think though at certain clubs - and this happened actually under Louis van Gaal three or four years ago - is that you can use young players as a sort of veil over how badly the rest of the team's going."

Pressure

As mentioned, Pochettino's availability adds a layer of pressure for Solskjaer. And as Brewin pointed out, it also "mirrors" the events of three-years ago. Back then, Jose Mourinho's sacking at Chelsea brought his name into consideration whilst Louis van Gaal was under pressure. The new Tottenham manager took the Man United job just a few short months later.

"Speculation is going to link Pochettino to the United job until he says he wants to go to France to manage PSG or he goes to Bayern Munich," said Brewin.

"Ole's situation was never completely cast-iron despite Ed Woodward's repeated backings of him in those various briefings last month. And now he's got this Pochettino-shaped spectre hovering over him the whole time."

Meanwhile, Manchester City overturned a deficit to beat Chelsea 2-1. But the gap to Liverpool in the Premier League table remains sizeable. While Pep Guardiola isn't giving up the Premier League officially, his comments have been interesting.

"[If] we lose the Premier League we are going to try again next season," Guardiola said on Saturday.

"We didn't give up last season and that is why we won again. Maybe we are going to lose but this team never gives up. This team tries and this is why we [beat Chelsea] against an incredible top side."

Brewin gave his take on what signs we can glean from City's not-entirely-convincing displays of late.

You can watch the full Football Show below via our YouTube channel. Or you can listen in on the podcast.


Read more about

Chelsea John Brewin Manchester City Manchester United Mauricio Pochettino Off The Ball Premier League Sheffield United

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