Solskjaer admits pressure is on as he looks for United players to respond

United host Atalanta on Wednesday and Liverpool on Sunday

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: ‘There’s pressure on me, of course, but we’ve been through this before’. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: ‘There’s pressure on me, of course, but we’ve been through this before’. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he is under pressure but the Manchester United manager is confident his side will bounce back.

The Red Devils host Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday evening after a poor recent run continued with Saturday’s chastening 4-2 loss at Leicester.

Solskjaer has been under intense scrutiny in the aftermath but he retains the backing of the hierarchy at a club facing a big few weeks.

“You know, we’ve progressed over the years – sixth the first when I was there for half a season, then third, second,” United boss Solskjaer said.

“You can see the progress, improvement, development and this season we still want to improve.

“Yeah, we’ve signed some players that have raised expectations. Other teams have signed players and improved as well so we’re in the same boat as all the top teams. There’s pressure all the time.

“There’s pressure on me, of course, but we’ve been through this before and we’ve come through it stronger as individuals and as a team.

“I’m just looking forward to the response now and I’m in dialogue with the club all the time, so that’s an open, honest discussion all the time.”

United’s match against Atalanta is followed by Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash with Liverpool, whose former defender Jamie Carragher said the Old Trafford giants need a better manager if they are to succeed.

“No, it doesn’t affect me,” Solskjaer said. “Of course you see some of them comments once in a while. I didn’t know what he was saying now.

“But of course we’ve got Liverpool on Sunday as well, so Jamie is always looking at all these little things.

“I’ve got my values, I’ve got my way of managing and I believe in myself.

“As long as the club believes in me, I’m pretty, pretty sure that Jamie Carragher’s opinion is not going to change that.”

But while Solskjaer retains self-belief, he knows that United’s displays have not been good enough.

“Of course it’s not the gimmicky, jovial, happy camp,” the Norwegian said of the post-Leicester atmosphere in the dressingroom. “They’re focused and determined.

“As Marcus [Rashford] said earlier on, you look at yourself, ‘what can I do to help the team?’

“I’ve seen the reaction from the players and, you know, probably conceding four goals is a big eye opener for us, that we need to improve on different levels on loads of details.”

Solskjaer spoke at the pre-Atalanta press conference alongside forward Rashford, who the United boss said should “maybe prioritise his football and focus on football” before his goalscoring return from injury at Leicester.

“Just to get the elephant out of the room straightaway with, you know, the headlines that came after the chat I had before the Leicester game,” Solskjaer said.

“Of course we’re so unbelievably proud by what Marcus has done on and off the pitch.

“And you know what I said and you made a headline out of one little comment that I never intended to be the focus of what I was saying.

“I was saying about Marcus and now it must be nice for the boy to focus on going into training, not feeling his ankle or his shoulder or his back.

“Now he can just go and enjoy his football and I think you all know that.”

Rashford is pushing to start against Atalanta after scoring from the bench at the King Power Stadium, where the dreadful overall display led to United players having an honest and open meeting.

“I think at a club like Manchester United as soon as you lose a game this is what happens,” the England forward said.

“I think for us as players we have to go back to basics, look at ourselves and see what we can do better.

“We’ve had the conversation as a team as we would do whether we win a game or lose a game. We know the next game is another opportunity to improve and that’s always the aim.”

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