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expectations Pressure already on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with bookies not fancying Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to the new season (Steven Paston/PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to the new season (Steven Paston/PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to the new season (Steven Paston/PA)

The pressure will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from the get-go this season – and he would have liked an easier start.

After defeat in last season’s Europa League final ensured Manchester United’s season ended trophyless again, the debate over the Norwegian’s future as the club’s manager begins again.

Yet, Old Trafford chiefs have backed the Norwegian with big-money signings in Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, while also handing the manager a new three-year deal.

Tasty

Solskjaer has suggested his two big summer buys will be on the bench for this coming Saturday’s tasty lunchtime opener against Leeds at Old Trafford.

And he has admitted, too, that expectations have been lifted after the arrival of two big-name stars.

As the Norwegian admitted: “There’s always pressure here to win the league and to win trophies.

“For me, it’s the pressure I put on myself, the pressure the team put on themselves to achieve the best you can.

“That the board also wanted to extend my contract is proof that we are going in the right direction, but we have to keep on moving in the right direction.

“You feel under pressure all the time. At this club, with this responsibility, it’s not just clinging onto your job, it’s also about the responsibility that’s in my hands.

“We’ve got millions of fans – the players, the club, the staff, the responsibility is on getting results, and we have improved year-on-year.

“We have gone from third to second, and a lot closer in points. We’ve gone from three semis to a final and one kick away from winning, so it’s taking the next step now.

“It feels like this season coming up is one of the strongest Premier League seasons.

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“I feel us and Chelsea have spent well and worked well, and we should also look at ourselves as potential challengers.

“The first game against Leeds is the most important.”

Solskjaer is currently a 16/1 shot with Paddy Power to be the first top-flight manager to lose his job this season, with newly-appointed Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira (6/1) heading the betting in that race from Watford’s Xisco (6/1).

The bookies are not convinced Solskjaer will end United’s long wait for a league title this season, with the Red Devils 17/2 fourth favourites behind Man City (4/6), Chelsea (9/2) and Liverpool (5/1).

Harry Kane is 11/4 to finish as top scorer once again – and those odds are bound to shrink if the Tottenham striker seals a move to Manchester City.

And what about the bottom end of the table?

Paddy Power have Watford as 4/5 favourites for the drop, with the newly-promoted duo of Norwich 10/11 and Brentford at evens.

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