The former assistant coach of the Red Devils acknowledges that a man filling the most challenging of positions would be disappointed with how things went for him.
At Manchester United, according to Steve McClaren, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had sack calls coming “from day one,” with the Norwegian finding the hard way that life at Old Trafford can be as stressful as it is challenging.
After parting with Jose Mourinho in December 2018, the Red Devils gave an SOS call to a familiar face.
An initial “honeymoon period” for United offered a welcome upturn in fortune, convincing them that a three-year deal was warranted by the interim coach.
Since then, questions have been raised about that decision on a regular basis, with contacts seemingly never far away from the likes of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
With a 3-1 victory over Everton helping to ease pressure on his back once again, Solskjaer was able to hold his head off the chopping block, but many remain unconvinced by his claims to the most prestigious of coaching posts.
With Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man telling talkSPORT of the speculation that continues to rage at Old Trafford, McClaren says such criticism comes with the job: “I think he had this from day one, from coming in.”
He had a time of honeymoon and he got the work, and they had spells [of poor form]. He had it two or three times last season, where it was ‘Ole for the Sack.’
But they finished the season very well, and they started very poorly this season, so two or three times already [calls were made for his sacking].
“It’s bound to get you there. It’s all pure rage and there’s nothing you can do about it.
It’s not just dissatisfaction with the outcomes, but also with the players, and finally having a result like that when needed, wow!
“It’s such a huge relief as a manager and you can breathe freely and sleep easily for the next couple of weeks, but then it starts again.”
In their latest outing at Goodison Park, United will expect to have turned a corner, but McClaren believes there are still problems for Solskjaer to fix before the Red Devils can claim to be fully back on the right track.
“The former England boss added:” This season I’ve seen them a lot and, for me, it’s all about the work pace. They’ve got it not on the ball, but off the ball. Win the ball back fast, man.
Talk of exposure to the back four, why are they exposed? Since they don’t work hard enough in front of you. In terms of winning the ball back, it starts from the front.
You look at Liverpool and Man City, and you look at the game’s pace from the front to the back. That was the key, I guess.[Scott] McTominay and Fred played in and protected the back four when they played there, particularly the two center-backs that had been exposed. They are exposed to top-quality players and goals conceded.
It was attitude, rate of work and commitment, and all 11 players were prepared to work for the jersey.
“After the last two results before Saturday, they are all battling against the universe. It’s good; it’s a mindset of siege and a bit of frustration, passion and feelings.
It is what you want to see, and what your followers want to see, to be honest. To see it after the game.
Now the key is to have a breather and have a break and come back from the fit of the internationals. And begin to play like that consistently and win games consistently.
Following the international break with a home date against West Brom on November 21, United will return to Premier League play.