Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the guillotine, waiting for the managerial chop.

But in a surprise move when all the momentum seemed to be trending towards firing Solskjaer on Monday after the 5-0 loss to Liverpool, he seems to be set to keep his job. For now.

Solskjaer’s job is under heavy scrutiny. Results have been appalling, with United now closer in points total to 17th place than 1st.

The Athletic report Solskjaer has been given a stay of execution, noting that the squad of players is ‘confused and divided’.

Once you lose the dressing room, it’s over for a manager. The whispers have started, and the performance at Liverpool was one of a group of stars who are not playing for their coach.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
(Photo by Oli Scarff – Pool/Getty Images)

United’s silence speaks volumes

Activity at United over the past 48 hours has been frantic. Sir Alex Ferguson and former chairman Martin Edwards were even at Carrington yesterday, The MEN reported.

Last night reports emerged suggesting Solskjaer will be kept on, with The Mirror reporting he has three games to save his job. But nobody from the club is attaching themselves to this. There is no public statement or ‘vote of confidence’.

Solskjaer is in a weak position where he has lost the majority of the fans, some of the players and probably some of his boardroom support too. But he is clinging on, with games against Tottenham, Atalanta, and Manchester City upcoming.

Interim boss

When Solskjaer was hired in December 2018 he came to the club as interim manager, and outperformed all expectations.

Right now it feels like he has been demoted to interim boss all over again.

Solskjaer is (a) having to prove himself all over again with a far more limited time span.

 

Also (b) United will be closely assessing replacement options right now and his brief stay of execution may simply be to buy United more time. He is a placeholder until the club settle on his preferred successor.

The club will be doing due diligence on potential replacements, which seemingly was not done in advance of this catastrophic result. The club have been caught off guard.

United are unlikely to want another interim manager and instead will want a full replacement. That can take time, especially if the desired replacement is already in post.

Rather than sack him, United have kept him on, and it feels in football terms he is a dead man walking.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Solskjaer’s spell at the club is not over. And it is not impossible he saves his job with three consecutive wins.

Victories over Spurs, Atalanta, and Manchester City will right the ship again, and it will feel like Solskjaer could be back on track to get to the end of the season and possibly beyond.

Right now he appears to be on borrowed time, fortunate to still be in a role. The result and performance against Liverpool were that disastrous.

Solskjaer is back to square one – needing to prove himself worthy of being Manchester United boss all over again.

This time he has a shorter time span to prove himself, has a squad of players beginning to doubt him, and scars from painful losses. It is going to be very hard for him to turn this around – although as noted, not impossible.

Beyond the next three games, the situation could have opened the board’s eyes for longer term planning.

It is possible United begin a long play to lure Erik Ten Haag to join at the end of the season, with Solskjaer effectively playing out another interim role until May.

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