Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reviews Manchester City defeat
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing a big fight to save his job at Old Trafford after overseeing a dismal season so far. And with the Norwegian under the cosh, links to Erik ten Hag have arisen. The Ajax boss has done well during his time at Amsterdam and, as a result, has been tipped to move to the Premier League with the Red Devils.
Last season, United made progress under Solskjaer by finishing second in the Premier League table.
This delighted the Glazers and Ed Woodward, who then gave the 48-year-old a fresh three-year deal and backed him with the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho during the summer transfer window.
United started the current campaign well enough, winning three of their first four matches.
But they’ve regressed ever since a Champions League defeat to Young Boys in September, with the Red Devils losing six of their last 12 matches across all competitions.
With United falling down the table, and already out of the Carabao Cup, Ten Hag has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
The former Bayern Munich coach has ruled the roost at Ajax ever since December 2017 and, during that time, has rebuilt the club.
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The Dutchman has won two Eredivisie titles during his spell in the dugout, guiding them to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 in the process.
And with United toiling, a move to the Premier League could be on the cards.
One thing to note, however, is Ten Hag’s loyalty.
He was wanted by Tottenham back in the summer, with Spurs exploring his appointment following the ruthless decision to part ways with Jose Mourinho.
Yet Ten Hag made it clear that he was loyal to Ajax, with comments made in July making for interesting reading.
He said at the time: “I know what I have here.
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“I know who I am working with, I know what the ideas are, I know what goals we have. I’m happy here.
“We’re having a lot of success and that happens in a certain way, it gives off a good vibe, and you get credit for that in the Netherlands and also abroad.
“You know what it is like with outside of football rumour…it tells you that we’re doing good work at Ajax. Then interest comes for the players, but also for the coaches.
“I’m busy with where I am at, that’s at Ajax, that’s where my head and heart are at.”
And his comments also suggest United would have to put an intriguing sporting project on Ten Hag’s table in order to bring him in.
Ten Hag is comfortable at Ajax because he’s happy with both their structure and their ambition.
And whether United turn to him amid their dire form under Solskjaer is something only time will tell.
United legend Rio Ferdinand, however, thinks Ten Hag is a good candidate for the job.
“For any manager coming in to a new club, it’s almost like you’ve got to show people why you’re there immediately,” Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.
“I use Antonio Conte as a good reference point for that.
“Whenever he joins a new club, there is no negotiables and he tells them, ‘this is what’s happening, this is what I am, if you’re not with me you can go.’
“I think that’s the type of attitude and the type of mentality that separates the good managers from the top managers.
“You’ve got to be able to go in there and command a whole dressing room full of egos, personality, characters. That’s the job of anyone coming in.
“Now I don’t know Ten Hag personally but he’s doing a fantastic job at Ajax. Let’s remember that Ajax isn’t a small club.
“They’re a massive club, the biggest club in Holland.
“Yes, it’s different and the landscape is different but it’s still a huge club that he’s got to work with and the expectation levels there every day are to win.
“That’s something that will be there every day and would be there if he was to come to Manchester United.
“Anyone who comes in, they’ve got to be able to deal with people. That’s the art of a fantastic manager.
“You’ve obviously got to get it right tactically but motivating people on a daily basis to produce the goods is a huge part of it.”
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