Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to win a trophy this season after the financial backing he’s received from the club.
The club legend is in his third full season at the helm in Manchester, but is yet to lift a trophy since returning to Old Trafford, despite coming close on multiple occasions.
Since taking over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, Solskjaer has been heavily backed in the transfer market by the club’s owners, with a blockbuster 2021 summer transfer window seeing three huge names arrive.
All-time great Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the club, while Bundesliga superstar Jadon Sancho joined for £73million, and four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane arrived from Real Madrid for £34m.
And former Premier League ace Gabby Agbonlahor believes Solskjaer should be given slightly more time to prove trophies are close this season, but the pressure continues to ratchet up.
“Obviously I’d go and get [Antonio] Conte but I agree to a certain extent with what you’re saying that maybe give him the next 10 games, see how Manchester United are around Christmas time,” the ex-Aston Villa ace said.
“See where they are, are they in line to fight for the title? Have they fallen off the top four? Are they still in with a chance in the Champions League? See how the results come but if he doesn’t get the right results soon, the pressure’s on.”
United were already out of the Champions League by Christmas last season, slipping up in the group stages to drop out of the competition.
They’ve started this European campaign in equally poor fashion, losing their opening match 2-1 to Swiss side Young Boys, and now face Villarreal who defeated the Red Devils in the Europa League final in May.
“If I’m Manchester United I’m thinking you’ve spent £400million, you have to bring silverware in,” Agbonlahor continued.
“You have to get Sancho in the team, you’ve spent £70m on him, you can’t have Sancho and [Donny] Van de Beek just sitting there on the bench.”
Solskjaer guided United to second place in the Premier League last season and has also had three semi-final appearances across the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.
And now even Solskjaer agrees that trophies are a must due to the support he’s had in the transfer market.
“If he [Gary Neville] says we need to win a trophy this season or next, because of the backing, I have to say, yes, I have been backed,” Solskjaer said.
“The progress and the process has worked well. I have to say the backing I’ve got seems to me that we’re sticking to that plan.
“But we’re in a results business. We’re here to win, we’re here to get up there and clearly we’ve improved and expectations have improved, with the signings and better performances.”
Solskjaer has previously seen huge incomings in the shape of Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, and says that glory is now essential.
“I’m here to win. Don’t think twice about that, and Gary knows that,” he said.
“The pressure is a privilege. To work in this environment, you have to embrace that pressure.”