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Solskjaer backs himself despite Man Utd's form

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 28 September 2021 07:47

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed himself to turn around Manchester United's form amid increasing pressure surrounding his job at Old Trafford.

United have lost three of their last four games and face a crucial Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Solskjaer's team have lost in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and Premier League in the last two weeks but he said he can bring trophies back to the club.

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"The pressure is a privilege," the United manager told a news conference on Tuesday.

"To work in this environment you have to embrace that pressure. Yes I've been backed [in the transfer market] and the backing I have got says to me we are sticking to a plan but we are in a results business.

"Expectations have improved with our signings. We are here to win, don't think twice about that.

"We have an obligation to win here in a certain style, sometimes that is risky and you lose one or two."

United began their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Young Boys and have a chance to get their first points of the group stage when Villarreal visit Manchester.

The Spanish side beat Solskjaer's team on penalties in the Europa League final in May but have struggled this season with just one win from the opening six LaLiga games.

Solskjaer is set to give Luke Shaw more time to prove his fitness after the left-back was forced off during the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday but captain Harry Maguire is sidelined with a calf problem.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is suspended after his red card in Switzerland.

"Luke has been in today [Tuesday] so I'll give him a chance to be involved," Solskjaer said. "He didn't train with the team. Harry is more or less definitely out, it doesn't look good.

"It's his calf, that might take a few weeks so let's see how quickly he recovers. He was hoping to play against Villrreal. With Aaron suspended we'll have to make a few changes."

Raphael Varane came on as a half-time substitute against Young Boys but will almost certainly have to start against Villarreal, who are set to be without striker Gerard Moreno because of injury, with Maguire ruled out.

He knows what it takes to win the Champions League after lifting the trophy four times during his spell with Real Madrid and has called on United to be "ambitious" with their expectations in the competition this season.

"What I have been able to see with my teammates is there's a lot of quality in our squad and team," Varane said. "We have got huge potential, I am convinced of it. I think we are improving all the time since the start of the season and I think we are on a positive upward curve.

"There's talent and experience. We have got everything you need to have that belief that we can do well. We have got to be ambitious, believe in our own potential and I think we can achieve things when you do that and have that positive mentality."

Villarreal coach Unai Emery said: "Solskjaer has the respect and the backing as a former United player and now coach.

"Last season they qualified for the Champions League and reached the Europa League final.

"I don't think a few negative results are going to change the opinion of the club executives regarding the coach."

ESPN's Adriana Garcia contributed to this report.

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