Danny Murphy believes Manchester United will sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if he doesn’t win the Europa League, regardless of his progress as manager.
United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester in a hugely disappointing 3-1 defeat at the quarter-final stage.
That means only the Europa League is left as Solskjaer’s best chance of picking up his first piece of silverware as manager this season, with the Reds 14 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City in the Premier League.
United managers should ultimately be judged on success and Solskjaer has so far been unable to validate his progress by lifting a trophy.
Former Liverpool midfielder Murphy believes there can be no excuses for the Leicester defeat and suggested Solskjaer’s fate could rest on the outcome of the Europa League.
“They can’t be blaming tiredness for a loss at Leicester in the FA Cup and their squad not being strong enough,” Murphy told TalkSPORT.
“United competing in the Europa League is not good enough, first and foremost, the fans know that, the club know that and Ole knows that.
“Not progressing in the Champions League was a massive, massive blow for them. Yes, they’re going to get in the top four… but so they damn should!
“He’s in a position for me where the Europa League, for me, has become monumental for him and the club.
“I like him and I’m not one who wants to see managers sacked and I do think they’ve made some strides forward, but Manchester United have to be doing better.
“If they don’t win the Europa League and only finish in the top four then I think they’ll make a change.”
United have been handed a favourable draw in the Europa League. The Reds have been drawn against Granada in the quarters and will face the winners of Ajax vs Roma in the semi-final if they can overcome the La Liga side.
A second-place finish in the Premier League and a trophy would still constitute a successful season in Solskjaer’s rebuilding process.
The concern for some supporters is that results like the Leicester defeat never seem too far away and United have to prove their big game credentials in the latter stages of the Europa League.