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Gary Neville makes U-turn over next Man Utd manager


Date published: Tuesday 12th February 2019 3:11

Gary Neville is starting to believe that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is destined to become the Manchester United manager on a permanent basis.

The Norwegian is the bookies’ favourite for the job after going 11 games unbeaten as interim manager, and speculation surrounding other names in the frame has died down.

That has coincided with the former United striker winning 10 of his 11 games in charge since replacing Jose Mourinho in December.

Initially his success was attributed to the ‘bounce’ factor and the opposition not being up to much, but recent wins over Tottenham and Arsenal have started to convince fans and pundits alike that he is the right man for the job long-term.

Neville admits he thought Solskjaer would only be a stop-gap measure, but with the fans’ support he thinks Solskjaer could be set to stay at Old Trafford for the long term.

“It’s beyond a bounce now in terms of performances. To do what they did to Fulham, make it look so comfortable, it’s not always been like that in the last five or six years. He’s having a massive impact on those players,” said Neville.

“We are seeing different types of performance. At Fulham they came out quickly, got two goals then controlled and managed the game. It was a nice away performance. The game against Leicester was gritty and resilient.

“In the first weeks, it was about getting the mood right, getting the players passing forward and enjoying themselves. Now we are seeing rotation, tactical nuances.

“Two months ago I was saying that Manchester United should get the best manager in the world and the best backroom team. I genuinely did think it would be a five-month interim for Ole where he could come in and bring the whole club together because everyone loves him.

“The players have responded to him, the fans love him to bits and sang his name all the way through the match at Fulham. The fans are in some ways determining the outcome for the board because you can’t go against that support. It’s huge and they love Solskjaer.”

Neville though says it’s too early to hand him the role just yet and with important games coming up, the end of March would be a sensible time to make a judgement on him.

“I think it’s too early to give him the job now,” Neville told Sky Sports. “I think coming out of March is the right time to appraise it, then look at April with six weeks to go, make a decision considered over a three or four-month period, how the club are feeling, how the players are feeling, and what the results are.

“That’s not because they have seven or eight tough games, I just think it’s sensible to reflect over a three or four-month period, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is putting himself in with a major shout of getting the job.

“If Manchester United continue in this way until the end of the season and get into the top four then the risk with not giving Solskjaer the job would be huge.

“If you get to October and they have spent £30m or £40m to get a new coaching set-up into the club and they are fifth, all hell will break loose. People will say: why did you not give Ole the job when he was doing it well?

“I still think you don’t need to announce it today because as soon as you do it’s ‘who are you going to sign and who are you going to get rid of’. At the moment it’s still a very good atmosphere, but once the job comes then the questions would start to change.

“He almost had a bit of a free hit when he first came in, but he hasn’t just increased happiness, he has brought about top performances.”

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