Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is fast becoming a Houdini figure in the world of football.
Yet again, just when he needs it, his Manchester United side pulled a victory out of the bag with a 3-1 win away at Everton.
With the international break after this round of matches, the win is perfect timing for Solskjaer, and indeed probably for Ed Woodward, also.
The last thing Solskjaer needed was a week of speculation over his job. And had United lost, Ed Woodward may have been forced to spend the international break trying to find a replacement manager.
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What Did We Learn From United’ Win?
What did we learn from United’s 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday?
Well, there were some interesting statements made in the aftermath of the victory, not least by star performer Bruno Fernandes, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Starting with Man of the Match Fernandes, and his after match interview seemed to back up the theories doing the rounds that there is a lack of leadership inside the Old Trafford dressing room.
Love him, or loathe him, but what former United midfielder Roy Keane has been saying lately about the lack of leadership was basically backed up by Fernandes in his interview on BT Sports.
Is the pressure finally getting to Ole?
Following on from that, was a very angry looking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In his interview he accused the footballing authorities of “setting United up to lose”.
This looks like the first signs to me that the pressure is finally getting to the usually pragmatic Solskjaer.
One thing I’ve admired about Solskjaer during his time as Old Trafford boss is his dignity in not lowering himself to the standards of others.
We can all think of previous managers who would always look for something or someone else to blame when things went wrong. In his time at Old Trafford, Solskjaer generally hasn’t resorted to those tactics.
In general, I have little time for managers moaning about the early fixtures on a Saturday.
But having had time to reflect, I do see Solskjaer’s point – up to a point! I can understand Ole moaning about being the early fixture, but I’m not having it that the football authorities set United up to fail.
They are more than capable of doing that themselves!
In fairness, the same thing happened to Spurs on the Sunday, when they had to kick off at 12noon, having played the previous Thursday. That is wrong also.
By all means you can call the authorities useless, but you can’t be saying they are deliberately targeting Man Utd. That’s garbage!
Solskjaer can take plenty of positives from the win
So where there any positives to take from the 3-1 win for United? There certainly was in my view.
Despite scoring 2 goals, I didn’t think it was Bruno Fernandes’ greatest performance. And Marcus Rashford wasn’t quite at his best either. But United still managed a comfortable win.
Finally, a United goal for Cavani
There was also a goal for Edinson Cavani, which will have helped his confidence moving forward.
Despite all of the negativity over the signing of Cavani, I think he could turn out to be just what United need, especially at Old Trafford.
The big Uruguayan will give United a different option. Saturday’s win highlighted United’s strengths, it showed just how good they are on the counter-attack. It wasn’t really an afternoon made for Cavani.
But at home, if United want to switch tactics, Cavani could be just the option they need.
United have been crying out for a striking focal point for some time now, and they finally have one.
The problem seems to be that Solskjaer doesn’t seem to have the confidence to change the style of play at home, and actually play him. The 1-0 defeat to Arsenal perfectly illustrated this.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs a rethink at home – or he’ll get sacked
I do believe if Ole doesn’t change suit at home, he’s going to lose his job.
There is clearly not much wrong with United’s form on the road. It’s obvious where they need to sharpen up.
The international break could have come at just the right time for United and Ole.
It’s 2 weeks until United’s next match, a home game against West Brom.
Thìs break should give Solskjaer the chance to regroup, and plan a way to play at Old Trafford. A system that can get Cavani into the team, and get United on the front foot.
The time has arrived to take a calculated risk playing at home. If he doesn’t, I feel it won’t be long before he’s under fire again.