News Live Scores
Manchester United

‘Solskjaer has had sack calls coming from day one’ – Man Utd boss always under pressure, says McClaren

15:41 GMT 09/11/2020
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Everton vs Man Utd Premier League 2020-21
The Red Devils’ former assistant coach admits a man filling the most demanding of roles will be feeling frustrated at how things have gone for him

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had sack calls coming “from day one” at Manchester United, says Steve McClaren, with the Norwegian learning the hard way that life at Old Trafford can be as frustrating as it is demanding.

The Red Devils sounded an SOS call to a familiar face after parting with Jose Mourinho in December 2018.

An initial “honeymoon period” delivered a welcome upturn in fortune for United, convincing them that the interim coach deserved a three-year contract.

Questions have been asked of that decision on a regular basis ever since, with links to the likes of former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino seemingly never far away.

Solskjaer has been able to keep his head off the chopping block, with a 3-1 win over Everton helping to ease pressure on his shoulders once again, but plenty remain unconvinced by his claims to the most prominent of coaching posts.

McClaren says such criticism comes with the job, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man telling talkSPORT of the speculation that continues to rage at Old Trafford: “I think he’s had this from day one, from coming in.

“He had a honeymoon period and got the job, and they’ve had spells [of bad form]. He had it last season, two or three times, where it was ‘Ole for the sack’.

“But they finished the season very well and started this season very poorly, so two or three times already [there have been calls for his sacking].

“It’s bound to get to you. It’s just the sheer frustration and you can’t do anything about it.

“It’s frustration not just of results but also of the players, and to finally get a result like that when needed – wow!

“As a manager it’s such a big relief and you can breathe easy and sleep easy for the next few weeks, but then it starts again.”

United will hope to have turned a corner in their latest outing at Goodison Park, but McClaren believes there are still issues for Solskjaer to address before the Red Devils can claim to be firmly back on the right track.

The ex-England boss added: “I’ve seen them a lot this season and, for me, it’s all about work rate. Not on the ball, they’ve got that, but off the ball. Win the ball back quickly.

“Talk about the back four being exposed, why do they get exposed? Because they are not working hard enough in front. It starts at the front, in terms of winning the ball back.

“You look at Liverpool and Man City and the intensity of the game from the front to the back. I think that was the key.

“[Scott] McTominay and Fred, when they’ve played in there and protected the back four, especially the two centre-backs who have been exposed. They are exposed against top quality players and conceded goals.

“It was attitude, work rate and determination, and all 11 players were willing to work for the shirt.

“They are all fighting against the world after the last two results before Saturday. It’s good; it’s a siege mentality and a bit of anger, passion and emotion.

“To be fair it’s what you want to see, and what supporters want to see. Seeing that after the game.

“The key now is to have a breather and have a break, and come back from the internationals fit. And start playing consistently like that and win games consistently.”

United will return to Premier League action after the international break with a home date against West Brom on November 21.