The shared view across many media outlets in the UK is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was bailed out by Cristiano Ronaldo against Atalanta.
The perspective on Solskjaer in Italy after the 2-2 draw in Bergamo was not particularly kind either.
Tuttomercatoweb rates the players and managers’ performances and gave Solskjaer a 5.5/10.
Considering his late substitutions helped United salvage a draw, that low score says a lot about how the previous 86 minutes went before Van de Beek and Sancho came on.
The outlet wrote of Solskjaer: “Bad, very bad indeed. It is not an easy moment for his team and he finds himself against an aggressive Atalanta that leaves little breath. He clings to Ronaldo, the one most criticised.”
There was further criticism for Solskjaer from newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The paper wrote: “Even when things don’t turn out, your coach is in confusion and your teammates are frightened, they know how to find the play that gets you out of trouble in nothing. And tonight Cristiano Ronaldo gave tangible proof of this.”
Solskjaer has everything to prove
Pressure is building on Solskjaer and he needs to avoid humiliation against City this weekend.
That in itself is a very low-bar. But after the 5-0 loss at home to Liverpool, United have good reason to be wary for this first game back at Old Trafford since.
Providing United reach the Champions League knockout stages, Solskjaer will probably be given the chance to see this season through. At present he is just about on track to do that.
United made clear by snubbing Antonio Conte that there is no desire to rush into another appointment.
But that does not excuse Solskjaer from scrutiny. It has felt this season like the walls are closing in on him.
What he achieved the past two seasons, back to back top four finishes, is commendable, now United need to go up a level and aim higher. Solskjaer has to prove he is capable of that and needs a big turnaround.
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