Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t fear for his future despite sackings

United manager puts on a brave front as Mourinho plots to beat his former team

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he does not fear for his future as Manchester United manager, despite a spate of sackings in the English Premier League, as he prepares to face his predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Tottenham Hotspur turned to Mourinho after dismissing Mauricio Pochettino last month, while Arsenal and Watford have subsequently sacked Unai Emery and Quique Sanchez Flores.

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MAN UNITED TOTTENHAM

Solskjaer is under increasing pressure, with United ninth in the EPL, 22 points behind leaders Liverpool and eight off a top-four spot, as they prepare to host Spurs tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"No, it doesn't make me more concerned," Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

"I'm just focusing on my job and that's just doing as well as I can, and look forward to the next game, and look long-term, plan things with the board.

"It's that time of year. It's never nice to see your colleagues lose their jobs - three in a very short space of time."

"It's a game of margins. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don't, but it doesn't make me any more concerned that it's December," he added.

"I'm good, absolutely no problem. Sometimes you laugh when you read stories about what I've said and stuff, at least I know the sources are just made up, blatant lies."

The United boss bemoaned his team's failure to turn draws into wins, saying they were not getting the results they deserved, but dismissed any need for crisis talks with the board.

The club are winless in three games and Solskjaer's job will not get any easier with a Manchester Derby on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

The Norwegian expects Mourinho to receive a warm welcome when he returns to Old Trafford a year after being sacked, having won the League Cup and Europa League during his time in charge.

United will still be without the injured Paul Pogba, but Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic will be assessed.

Mourinho, meanwhile, says his time at United is "a closed chapter" and he is only interested in beating them.

"This is a closed chapter for me," said Mourinho, who has won all three of his matches in charge of Spurs.

EXCITED ABOUT RETURN

"I left the club, I took my time to process everything that happened, I took my time to prepare myself for the next challenge.

"Honestly, United for me is in my book of experiences, it's in my history book."

When asked for his opinion on United, he said: "It is not for me to analyse United now. I analyse them as an opponent, how they play. How can we beat them? How can they beat us? For me that is the important thing."

Mourinho is excited to return to the Theatre of Dreams.

Said the Portuguese: "I feel good, I like to play big matches, I like to play against the best teams and go back to a place where I was happy.

"I have a great relationship with the Manchester United supporters. I went back as a pundit and I was humbled by such a beautiful reception. Tomorrow I go back as the coach of the team that will try and beat United." - AFP, REUTERS

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