final chance? | 

Six times Solskjaer was pushed to the brink at Man United... but he may be on his last life

Solskjaer faces a crucial game at Tottenham on Saturday that could be his last as United manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows that time is of the essence (Rafal leksiewicz/PA)

Billy Dobson, Rhys Jones and Michael Hough

Since his appointment as Machester United manager in December 2018, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under constant pressure to prove he is up to the job.

He faces a crucial game at Tottenham on Saturday that could be his last as United manager and here, look back at six matches where the Norwegian came dangerously close to losing his job.

Manchester United 0-5 Liverpool (24th October 2021)

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (left) scores their side’s fifth goal

We start with his most recent and arguably his biggest escape. After a 3-2 comeback victory just four days before against Atalanta, tension was building at Old Trafford. Historic rivals Liverpool were in town with United fans and players alike knowing a result was needed. By half-time, a rampant Liverpool side had built a 4-0 lead as home fans headed for the exits. Mohamed Salah made it 5-0 just minutes into the second half before Paul Pogba was sent for an early shower after a rash challenge on Naby Keita. A hostile atmosphere at full-time left many waiting for the announcement of Solskjaer’s dismissal.

Villarreal 1-1 Manchester United (26th May 2021)

David De Gea of Manchester United is consoled by teammates Axel Tuanzebe and Daniel James following their team's defeat in the penalty shoot out. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Manchester United had finally reached a final under Ole after losing their previous three semi-finals. The match kicked off with United favourites with Villareal looking for their first major trophy. Solskjaer’s side did not start well going 1-0 down to Gerard Moreno leaving them with work to do. Edinson Cavani pulled Manchester United level 10 minutes into the second half. Manchester United had the better of the chances after getting momentum from the goal but couldn’t convert which caused penalties to be the decider. After a marathon shootout De Gea missed the penalty which saw Villareal take their first ever trophy. Familiar questions were asked about Solskjaer’s ability as this was now two and half seasons without silverware for Manchester United.

Leicester 3-1 Manchester United (21st March 2021)

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers and Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the match. Photo: Oli Scarff/REUTERS

United arrived at the King Power Stadium looking to head to another FA Cup semi-final. A strong Leicester side took the game to a weakened United side who started without Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. A brace from Kelechi Iheanacho and a Youri Tielemans goal cancelled out Mason Greenwood’s first-half finish, sending the foxes to Wembley. Solskjaer came under question again at full-time with many pondering over his rotated team selection. United fans became frustrated with the Norwegian after it emerged Leicester would play Southampton in the semi-final, seemingly the easiest draw available to them.

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur (4th October 2020)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer succeeded Jose Mourinho in the Old Trafford hotseat in December 2018 (Alex Livesey/PA)

After a lacklustre start to the season, United welcomed Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side to Manchester. The game was eagerly anticipated as fans were looking forwards to Solskjaer going head-to-head with his predecessor. Bruno Fernandes gave the hosts an early lead before a collapse ensued. Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele and two from Heung-Min Son either side of Anthony Martial’s red card gave the visitors a 4-1 lead. Spurs added two more goals in the second half completing an embarrassing day for the United squad. Questions were asked of the manager after his decision to substitute key player Bruno Fernandes at half-time.

Sevilla 2-1 Manchester United (16th August 2020)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season ended with a Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla (UEFA Handout)

A season like no other climaxed in Germany where United were competing for their last hope of any silverware. Facing off against Sevilla in the Europa League semi-final, United took another early lead through a Fernandes penalty. Failure to take many chances that came their way allowed the Spaniards back into the game. Goals from Luuk de Jong and ex-Liverpool man Suso saw Sevilla take a 2-1 lead late in the game. Little cutting edge led to United losing their third semi-final in a year and crashing out of a tournament that they looked certain to win just a week before.

Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea (19th July 2020)

David De Gea's mistakes were costly

United faced Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final with the winners looking to face a weakened Arsenal side in the final. A great opportunity for Solskjaer’s men was taken away from them after David De Gea made two costly errors leading to Chelsea goals. Captain Harry Maguire made the score 3-0 with an own goal 15 minutes before full-time, meaning Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was merely a consolation. Lampard’s young squad headed to the final whilst the United squad came under fire for yet another below par performance.

Today's Headlines

More Soccer

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices