Solskjaer insists Manchester United ‘making progress’ … but stats don’t support boss – .

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Solskjaer insists Manchester United ‘making progress’ … but stats don’t support boss – .



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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can only hope that Manchester United have put in as good a defensive performance against Atalanta on Wednesday night as they did on the eve of this Group F meeting at Old Trafford.

Days after divulging four goals at Leicester, United have to recover for the next test in a crucial series of games that could quite easily plunge the club from their early-season funk into a full-blown crisis.

After four defeats in seven games and criticism from all quarters that this is a United side still woefully far from the sum of its parts, Solskjaer has seized the opportunity to defend his record since taking over. succeeded José Mourinho in December 2018.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended his record since taking over from Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford

“We have made progress over the years,” he insisted. “Sixth when I was here for half a season, then third and second. You can see the progress, the improvement and the development, and this season we want to get even better.

“To concede four goals is a big revelation for us that we have to improve at different levels on a lot of details.

“Each team will go through a patchy period and we’re in bad shape now. We know it and we raise our hands to improve. I’m just looking forward to the answer.

Solskjaer certainly needs one of his players on Wednesday night. The defeat at Leicester revealed worrying shortcomings at United, from a porous defense and midfield to an attacker unable or unwilling to support his abilities with a hard transplant.

He had to defend Cristiano Ronaldo’s pace of work on Tuesday after seeing the Portuguese star come under scrutiny in the three weeks since his spectacular home stoppage winner against Villarreal was revived United’s Champions League campaign.

The addition of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane – currently injured – left Solskjaer with a better team but fewer excuses, and he knows it. United may have progressed under him, but it still feels like they are way behind their rivals.

Manchester United boss needs a response from his players on Wednesday night

Manchester United boss needs a response from his players on Wednesday night

Gary Neville has criticized his former club but has not called for Solskjaer’s sacking. Sky Sports expert Jamie Carragher was not so charitable.

The Norwegian smirked when he was brought up and suggested that Carragher’s views may not be totally unrelated to United’s upcoming home game against Liverpool.

“I’d rather not watch them (Neville and Carragher),” he replied. ‘It doesn’t affect me. You see some comments every now and then, but I didn’t know what they were saying now.

“Of course we have Liverpool on Sunday so Jamie is still looking at those little things. I have my values, I have my way of managing and I believe in myself.

Sky Sports expert Jamie Carragher thinks United need a

Sky Sports expert Jamie Carragher thinks United need ‘better manager’ to win trophies

“As long as the club believes in me I’m pretty sure Jamie Carragher’s opinion won’t change that. “

Everything indicates that Solskjaer retains the full support of his employers. So, does he feel safe in his job?

“I’m in a dialogue with the club all the time and it’s an open and honest discussion,” said the 48-year-old.

“There is pressure all the time. There is pressure on me, sure, but we’ve been through this before and we have come out of it stronger as individuals and as a team.

“Yes, we have recruited players who have raised expectations. Other teams have recruited players and also improved, so we’re in the same boat as all the top teams.

Cristiano Ronaldo's pace of work has come under intense scrutiny since winning against Villarreal

Cristiano Ronaldo’s pace of work has come under intense scrutiny since winning against Villarreal

“It’s very important to bounce back. In the Champions League group stage, if you win all three home games and get an away result, chances are you will qualify.

“That’s what we’re aiming for now. A win against a very good Atalanta team would be huge for us and a big boost. ‘

A first meeting between the two clubs pits United against Italian opponents currently at the top of a group which is proving to be much more difficult than it appeared in August.

Solskjaer needn’t be reminded that Atalanta won 2-0 at Anfield last season as they advanced to the round of 16 behind Liverpool.

“There have been a lot of things that haven’t been good enough lately,” he admitted. “We have corrected some things and I hope that tomorrow we can see the result in the performance. “

Despite facing a series of tough fixtures, United are still expected to get back in shape soon

Despite facing a series of tough fixtures, United are still expected to get back in shape soon

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