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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'Manchester United job is not too big for me'

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'Manchester United job is not too big for me'
© Reuters
United enter the weekend two points off the relegation zone.

Under-fire Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists the job is not too big for him ahead of face table-topping rivals Liverpool on the back of the club's worst start in 30 years.

The 20-time league champions enter the weekend two points off the relegation zone and 15 points behind Jurgen Klopp's visitors, who are going for a record-equalling 18th successive top-flight win.

The rivals could hardly be in more contrasting states, with Solskjaer's side desperate to kick-start their ailing season, but the United manager is sure he will turn things around.

Defeat to Newcastle left United two points off the relegation zone
Defeat to Newcastle left United two points off the relegation zone (Owen Humphreys/PA)

"No, I've never felt it's too big for me," he said.

"I'm confident in what we're trying to do and I'm confident in my staff – the coaching and what's happening here every single day, I've been so impressed."

Solskjaer accepts United have not been adventurous enough at a club where "you do take risks" – something Ed Woodward clearly does not believe he is doing in sticking with the Norwegian.

The executive vice-chairman reiterated his support of the Norwegian at a recent staff meeting and will not sack him regardless of the outcome against Liverpool.

"I speak to Ed loads of times and we speak regularly," Solskjaer said.

"As we've spoken about so many times, we do have a plan and we know that we've made some decisions that maybe in the short-term would harm us, but we know in the long-term will benefit us. And that's part of the plan.

"But results are always are always the main thing and we can move forward quicker if we get results and performances.

"But I'm sure we will get there. It's just still planning for the next transfer window, summer transfer window and how we see the team moving forward."

Letting the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez go for the benefit of the squad has certainly left them light in attack, with injuries compounding matters ahead of his players' chance to "get in the history books" against Liverpool.

Anthony Martial may return against Liverpool
Anthony Martial may return against Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could return on Sunday, but Paul Pogba is out and David De Gea is expected to join him on the sidelines. Question marks also hang over the likes of Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Mason Greenwood.

"Of course, I would like to tell you positive news, hopefully... we'll see on Sunday who's come through the last two sessions," Solskjaer said.

"Because there's players here who have just started training, just on the verge of coming back or not so I can't really say."

Asked what the scan on De Gea came back with, he said: "Well, I don't expect him to play.

"But it wasn't as bad as feared. When I saw the game, I thought that's him out until next international break because we've had some long-term muscle injuries but it's not as bad as feared."

As for Pogba, he has been doing warm-weather training in Dubai as he bids to return from a nagging ankle injury – although the trip has increased speculation about his future.

Talk has been rife about the France international since admitting his openness to leaving in the summer, while the publication of a photo of him with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane in Dubai has set tongues wagging.

"I've not heard Paul say he doesn't want to be here," Solskjaer said. "Paul wants to stay here and play well."

Solskjaer insists Paul Pogba is happy at the club
Solskjaer insists Paul Pogba is happy at the club (Richard Sellers/PA)

Put to him he has said he wanted a new challenge, he added: "Paul is part of our plan going forward and Paul knows that.

"I've spoken to him so many times. He's been playing through the pain barrier and he's been criticised left, right and centre but when he came back for Rochdale and Arsenal he could easily have opted to not try to play them, but he wanted to play, he wanted to try to get back.

"It was too painful so he had that scan but he's on the way back, he's mending, he's recovering.

"He's been on a few days off working but he's away from here and then there's a picture.

"When you're at Man United, you do get pictures, speculation, I don't have any problem with that at all."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool12111028101834
2Leicester CityLeicester128222982126
3Chelsea1282227171026
4Manchester CityMan City1281335132225
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd12453139417
6Arsenal124531617-117
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd124441612416
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves123721615116
9Bournemouth124441515016
10Burnley124351718-115
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124351517-215
12Crystal Palace124351016-615
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124351118-715
14Tottenham HotspurSpurs123541817114
15Everton124261318-514
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham123451420-613
17Aston Villa123271720-311
18Watford12156823-158
19Southampton122281129-188
20Norwich CityNorwich122191128-177

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