Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2024

Man Utd: Erik ten Hag will know how to avoid sack after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admission | Football | Sport

Solskjaer guided United to second and third-place Premier League finishes and enjoyed extended cup runs in all competitions.

However, the Norwegian failed to add to the club’s sizable trophy cabinet that has been dormant for much of the last decade since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

United were primed to end a four-year trophy drought when they met Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the Europa League final in Gdansk.

But Solskjaer’s side weren’t at their best and lost 11-10 on penalties after David de Gea failed to save a single spot-kick before missing his own.

This week, he appeared on the Stick to Football podcast as he continues his public appearances ahead of a planned return to coaching.

And the 51-year-old admitted that cup glory can mask other problems, which exploded the following season and led to his sacking.

“I think so [the Europa League final defeat was a big turning point],” Solskjaer explained to Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Jill Scott, Roy Keane and Ian Wright.

“If you’d have been sat there with a trophy, that would be different in regard to the ownership thinking, ‘We need a change.’ You get that leeway.

“For me, and I’ve always said this, any FA Cup, League Cup or Europa League – that might just hide other problems.

“If you do well in the league, that’s where you see a team’s progress. We came second and third [in the league], and that was, for me, the main thing.”

Ten Hag lifted silverware at the first time of asking at Old Trafford, winning last season’s Carabao Cup. He added a third-place Premier League finish at the end of the campaign.

But the Dutchman has fallen under heavy scrutiny this term, overseeing 16 league defeats and a rock-bottom finish in the Champions League group stage with just one win.

United’s Carabao Cup defence also ended at the second hurdle with a 3-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United in a rematch of last February’s final.

Ten Hag’s position could become untenable with no silverware and a failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The latter looks likely – United are currently 11 points adrift of the top four – while hopes of the former rest on beating Liverpool in next weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Even then, Manchester City, who beat Ten Hag’s men in last season’s final, will likely still be in the hat. But it could be FA Cup or bust for Solskjaer’s permanent successor.

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