Under-fire boss Ole Gunner Solskjaer insists he is not afraid of the pressure after Manchester United’s string of underwhelming displays on multiple fronts.
Solskjaer has come under heavy scrutiny following Man United’s gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday, marking their first Premier League defeat of the season.
Going into their must-win Champions League fixture against Villarreal, the Red Devils have suffered a brace of single goal defeats in domestic competitions, giving the Norwegian a sizeable headache.
Solskjaer’s former teammate Gary Neville recently insisted Man United must land silverware after investing heavily this summer.
“I said two weeks ago that the [Cristiano] Ronaldo signing was make or break,” he told Sky Sports.
“That’s not me putting pressure on the players or manager, it’s a matter of fact.
If you sign Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Raphael) Varane and (Jadon) Sancho, you’ve got to then win a trophy at some point in the next 12 to 18 months.
“This season or next, when Ronaldo is here, that’s why it’s a make or break signing. They have to win a trophy.”
In the build-up to United’s Group F meeting with the reigning Europa League holders, Solskjaer admitted that he can cope with the pressure.
“That pressure is a privilege – to work in this environment, you have to embrace that pressure,” he said, as relayed by Sky Sports.
“I’ve got to say, yes I have been backed and the process has worked well.
“The backing I’ve got seems to me that we’re sticking to that plan, but we’re in a results business. We’re here to win.
“We’ve improved. Expectations have improved with the signings, with the better performances. I’m here to win, don’t think twice about that and Gary [Neville] knows that.
“Of course, I speak to Gary as well and I know here at this club we have an obligation to win and we have an obligation to win in a certain style of play.
“Sometimes that’s risky and you lose one or two. Lately, we’ve lost one or two games, we changed the team in the Carabao Cup and you’re out of the cup, that’s the consequence, but we’ll get there.
“Hopefully, we’ll get there around April or May, challenging for the trophies we’d like to see back at Old Trafford.”
Man United had a busy summer. Varane, Sancho and Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford as part of the club’s efforts to land their first major trophy since 2017.
There is a feeling that this is United’s strongest squad in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, but Solskjaer’s men have struggled to impress on the pitch.
In addition to the aforementioned domestic reverses, the three-time European champions fell to a dreadful 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in their Champions League curtain-raiser.
United will be looking to exact revenge on Villarreal when the two sides lock horns on Wednesday to avoid another dismal European campaign.
They failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage last season despite winning their opening two matches.
United switched to the Europa League knockout stage before progressing to the final.
However, Unai Emery’s side outscored United on penalties, having previously held them scoreless in four previous Champions League meetings.
Solskjaer will be keen to improve his horrible Champions League record as United manager, having lost 64% of his managerial fixtures in the competition.
A victory over Villarreal would lift the spirits at United ahead of their upcoming Premier League showdown against Everton on Saturday.
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