Manchester United are back in Premier League action as their tricky run of Premier League fixtures continues this afternoon. Following a draw with Atalanta in the Champions League, Manchester City make the short trip to Old Trafford for the first derby of the season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a couple of changes from the side that comfortably beat Tottenham Hotspur last season, with Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani both absent from the team due to injuries.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has highlighted the importance of a good performance by Manchester United, arguing that another heavy defeat against one of their rivals could put Solskjer under increasing pressure.
The 5-0 defeat at Liverpool roughly two weeks ago was one of Solskjaer’s lowest moments in charge of the club and the Norwegian will be desperate to avoid a similar scenario this weekend as he prepares for yet another international break.
🗣"He can get beat by Manchester City, loads of teams get beaten by Manchester City but if it was a real bad one he could come under pressure."@GNev2 thinks it's all about the how's today for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming into pressure today pic.twitter.com/qHEPebhNiN
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 6, 2021
“It depends how, it’s all about the how today,” Neville said when pressed on whether a defeat puts Solskjaer back in trouble.
“I think the performance has got to be good, if they get them 5-0, he’s in massive trouble, let’s be clear. You can go and get beat 5-0 by Liverpool and four or five-nil by Manchester City.
“But you can get beat by Manchester City, loads of teams get beaten by Manchester City. So the idea that today, Manchester United play really well, it’s a tough game and they just get edged out. Would that result in him losing his job? No, I don’t think it would at all.
“But if it was a real bad one, he could come under pressure again, absolutely.”
SN’s verdict on Saturday’s derby…
A positive result, or performance in the least, is crucial to Solskjaer maintaining that relationship with the Old Trafford support. Following the defeat to Liverpool, large sections of Old Trafford remained in the stands to sing the manager’s name after the game.
Clearly, Solskjaer remains a popular figure at the club and any real supporter would admit that a successful era under the Norwegian is the dream scenario.
He is, however, in danger of seeing that dream slip away as another defeat would reflect poorly on him.