Football

Solskjaer on Bilic's sacking: Clubs must think long term

United boss, whose job is also under threat, says continuity is key to success

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he sympathised with Slaven Bilic after the Croat was sacked by West Bromwich Albion yesterday and stressed the need for clubs to think about long-term continuity rather than instant results.

Bilic helped West Brom gain promotion to the English Premier League but was sacked after a dismal start to the season left them second-bottom with one win in 13 games.

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Solskjaer is also under scrutiny after his side were knocked out of the Champions League group stages last week.

"I think these times in a pandemic and what's happened has made everyone sit back and think... I'm very sad to hear Slaven has lost his job. He did a great job getting them promotion," said Solskjaer.

"I've known him for years and I'm sure he'll get a job again.

"Hopefully, more and more clubs will think long term. It's a short-term business and you need short-term results, but everyone knows that continuity is the key to success and sometimes they don't have the patience for it."

The spotlight is also firmly on Sheffield United's Chris Wilder, with the Blades bottom of the league on one point from 12 games ahead of Manchester United's visit tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"It's not a nice position to be in as a manager, you want your players to be playing with confidence, thinking and believing they can win the game," Solskjaer added.

"At Cardiff (City), it was a new experience, a learning experience and a valuable one. I didn't enjoy it, with the results and relegation we got, but as a manager you're one of very few if you're not going to feel the pressure at one point.

"I felt it and Chris, Slaven whoever feels that pressure are mentally strong enough, because you have to be."

Solskjaer added that Edinson Cavani will not be rushed back for the clash with the Blades ahead of the hectic end-of-year schedule.

The 33-year-old Uruguayan striker returned to training after missing the past two games due to a muscle injury he suffered against West Ham United on Dec 5.

Said Solskjaer: "Edinson has done well in rehab but we still have to make the decision if we should risk him because it would be a risk.

"I would doubt he will be available tomorrow. We have to be mindful of little strains and niggles...

"With the tight schedule all around the world, I think we will see throughout the season, whoever gets a midweek rest might get a big advantage.

"If you are playing midweek every week, it is hard to have everyone 100 per cent sharp."

A win over the Blades would see United leapfrog Chelsea and Manchester City after both of them dropped points yesterday morning. - REUTERS, AFP

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