Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Gary Neville has been Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s greatest defender. The former United defender has been the Norwegian’s biggest ally, despite the fact the Red Devils’ egregious run of six defeats in 12 matches has had many calling for his sacking.
Solskjaer’s position at the helm of Old Trafford looked to be doomed, after they were pulverised 5-0 at home by fierce rivals Liverpool. A 3-0 away victory against Tottenham Hotspur, followed by a draw away to Atalanta appeared to relieve some pressure on the former United striker.
However, the knives were out again after Manchester City toyed with the Reds in an easy 2-0 away victory at the Theatre of Dreams, But despite the horrific run of results and the humiliating home defeats to Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s side, Neville has always stuck by his former teammate.
The Sky Sports pundit has been, by quite some distance, Solskjaer’s biggest advocate; defending him at every possible opportunity on television or on social media. After the Red Devils’ 5-0 defeat to loss, Neville laid bare his strong belief United would not part with their “plan” to maintain Solskjaer.
“The club aren’t going to do anything here,” Neville told Sky Sports. “The plan all season has been to stick with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season. And that’s where I’m at, even after Saturday.”
JUST IN: Man City’s quarter-season report: Best player and overall grade
Neville also said he is hounded by furious United fans on social media, who believe he is far too lenient on Solskjaer. Nevertheless, he continues to maintain his defiance on Solskjaer’s position, citing he would never demand a manager’s sacking or resignation.
“I’ve got Manchester United fans on my social media all of the time saying, ‘Gary, he’s your mate, you won’t call him out,'” Neville said shortly after their pummelling to Liverpool.
“No I won’t. I won’t call Steve Kean out or Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. I’m not going to come on this show 11 years later and ask for a manager to be sacked. “It’s never going to happen. He’s a club legend – he’s my team-mate. I actually like him a lot.
“I’m really happy to admit I won’t ask for any manager or Ole to be sacked. “Me being a pundit is irrelevant compared to my position as a human being and someone’s friend. At least I admit it.”
Man City’s quarter-season report: Best player and overall grade
Premier League faces repeat of Ronaldo issue after Gerrard appointment
Barcelona director ‘asks to leave’ as Edwards steps down at Liverpool
Away from the glare of the cameras, Neville’s stance on Solskjaer was the exact same, maintaining his belief in the former Cardiff City manager on Twitter. When asked when he would throw in the towel in regards to Solskjaer, he said on Twitter: “Never. Thank you for asking though.”
However, Neville’s frustration and criticism has been directed at outgoing chief executive Ed Woodward. The United chief gave Solskjaer a three year contract in the summer, and Neville believes this may have “complicated” the situation around Solskjaer’s future.
“The situation at United is made more complicated with Ed Woodward leaving in weeks,” he said. “He gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a three-year contract months ago and he won’t want his final act to be sacking a manager.
“However, he knows an incoming CEO could throw him overboard by doing just that and blaming him!”Neville’s most common defence for Solskjaer is the fact United have not had the best experiences with other ‘elite’ managers.
Follow our new Daily Express Sport Instagram page here
Solskjaer has already outlasted his two predecessors Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, who were both sacked by the club despite winning the FA Cup, the Europa League, and the League Cup between each other.
“They’ve all had better pedigrees than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finished second in the league and has gained position so there’s no science to that question,” Neville said in passionate defence of Solskjaer.
“There are better managers, of course, there are better managers in terms of credentials and on paper but the confusion that exists at this club at this moment in time is they’ve gone for two managers previously that have world-class credentials and that shouldn’t stop them doing it again.
“I think that’s where the confusion or the hesitancy comes from the board that they’ve been down this route of bringing in a Mourinho before so they wouldn’t bring in a Conte because they’d be burnt by that.”
Source: Read Full Article