Gary Neville’s immediate reaction to the sacking of Jose Mourinho suggests his former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be on borrowed time at Old Trafford. The Portuguese was relieved of his duties back in December 2018 after two-and-a-half years at the helm.
While Mourinho’s sacking was inevitable following a terrible start to the campaign, it was clear that removing the manager was not necessarily the answers to all the club’s problems.
Since then, Solskjaer has reinstalled hope following a third-place finish but following an underwhelming summer in the transfer market, United are way off the pace once again.
That was highlighted in the 6-1 drubbing against Tottenham, a performance that saw United bring four faces through the door on deadline day in the 24 hours that followed.
Neville’s comments following the sacking of Mourinho have now remerged and his verdict is worryingly similar to the current trajectory of Solskjaer’s tenure.
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When asked on Sky Sports News whether he was surprised by the timing of Mourinho’s dismissal, Neville said: “I’m not sure really. I think the moment earlier on in the season where it was clear that the board decided that they didn’t want to back a couple of Jose Mourinho signings.
“To be honest at that point you’re finished as a manager.
“I think that from a club point of view, they gave him a contract last January.
“In the summer Jose wanted to sign one or two centre-backs and they were identified and the club obviously had the ability to say no to those signings if they don’t think it’s right but you have to understand the consequences that once you undermine a manager and don’t agree with his signings, you’re going against them.
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“Maybe for the right reasons from a club point of view but when it’s someone with the stature of Jose Mourinho, you’re on a collision course.
“What we’ve seen in the last three of four months, is it play out in public.”
Reports emerged yesterday claiming that United failed to sign any of Solskjaer’s preferred targets.
His shortlist was topped by Jadon Sancho but despite having all summer to conclude a deal, United failed to satisfy the demands of Borussia Dortmund.
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Solskjaer also wanted Jack Grealish, who ended up signing a new contract at Aston Villa.
Defensive targets included Dayot Upamecano and Nathan Ake but United failed to attract either player.
None of United’s signings were players identified by Solskjaer or his technical staff and if Neville’s comments are anything to go by, time could be running out for Solskjaer after several concerning performances already this season.
While his tactical nous has been questioned, it’s clear the hierarchy should be held to account before Solskjaer but ultimately he is the one in the firing line who will pay the price before anyone sat upstairs.
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