His Champions League performances secured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the job at Manchester United, but now they could be what sees him lose him, as worrying statistics emerge.
United’s 2-1 loss to Swiss Young Boys tonight saw the names of Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane appear on Twitter, with Solskjaer continuing to underperform in Europe.
Serial winners Conte and Zidane are two of the most prominent managers to have been unemployed in recent years, both on extended sabbaticals after leaving Inter Milan and Real Madrid respectively.
Solskjaer has now been in his job at Old Trafford for almost three years and is yet to win a trophy, despite improving in the Premier League with a second place finish last season.
But in Europe, the story is very different, especially in the Champions League.
United lost the Europa League final last season to Spain’s Villarreal side, but were only in their second tier competition after failing to qualify in their UCL squad.
They started their campaign with victories over PSG and Leipzig, but lost a crucial game against Istanbul Basaksehir, paving the way for a group stage exit, and there were nuances of that performance on display tonight in Switzerland. .
United have only kept one clean sheet in their 11 Champions League appearances under Solskjaer, in a 5-0 win over Leipzig last season.
Opta also reports that the Red Devils have lost seven of those 11 matches, which equates to 13% of their total losses in the competition, although Solskjaer is only responsible for 4.8% of their total matches in the competition.
Former United super-sub Solskjaer was initially given the interim position in December 2018 following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
The Norwegian put United on an impressive streak of 10 wins and a draw in their opening 11 matches in all competitions, before PSG come to town in the Champions League round of 16 and inflict a 2 loss. -0 at Old Trafford.
No team in the history of the competition has ever progressed after losing a two-goal first leg, but United returned to Parc des Princes, with a brace from Romelu Lukaku and one stoppage from Marcus Rashford ensuring an astonishing 3-1 victory.
Solskjaer got the job permanently after the historic comeback, but the results in Europe fell short of expectations.
The 48-year-old has also been heavily supported by the club’s hierarchy, with successful purchases of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer.
And talkSPORT host Jason Cundy has suggested the writing could be on the wall for Solskjaer despite United’s promising Premier League debut.
“I would fire him,” he said after the loss. “We know what’s coming, don’t we? You have Antonio Conte over there… ”
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