Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the victim of a campaign waged by those hoping he fails in his job at Old Trafford.
United will move to second place in the Premier League if they win the two games in hand they have over their rivals at the top of the table, yet Solskjaer continues to come under fire when his side slip-up.
Now Cole has told The Target Men podcast that his former team-mate is being subjected to over-critical analysis of his side’s performances, with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino continuing to be linked with a move to United.
“I think Solskjaer is under far more pressure and scrutiny at the moment than he deserves to be,” said Cole, who was a key member of United’s 1999 Treble winning team alongside Solskjaer.
“For six or seven months, I get the feeling that people have been wanting him to fail and they’re still waiting for an excuse to demand the club sack him now.
“Solskjaer got Manchester United to three semi-finals and qualified for the Champions League last season. Sure, I would have wanted us to reach the final and go on to win the competitions, but it’s still a clear sign of progress and that can’t be ignored.
“The reality is that if you’re manager of Manchester United then there is an expectation that you will win trophies. If you don’t win trophies, it’s unlikely that you’ll be Manchester United manager for very long.
“Solskjaer knows that and it’s the pressure he would have expected when he accepted the job. He knows he isn’t going to get forgiven for not winning trophies just because he played for the club.”
Defence of Pogba
United’s club-record signing Paul Pogba has also been at the centre of a storm in recent weeks after his outspoken agent went public once more to confirm the French World Cup winner wants to leave the club.
Yet Cole believes he could still have a big role to play this season as he added: “I’m one of Paul Pogba’s biggest fans and I think he’s a fantastic player.
“I also think he gets a lot of unfair criticism. Pogba left a winning Juventus team to return to Manchester United wanting to help the club return to its glory days.
“He wanted nothing more than to compete and win trophies at the club. Pogba has been back at Manchester United for four years and the club are probably no closer to winning the Premier League now than they were when he joined.
“So it’s a transfer that hasn’t worked out as either club or player would have hoped. I expect that decision to be made this summer, if it hasn’t been already.”