Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been warned by his old friend Gary Neville that his future at Old Trafford hinges on the success of one player at Manchester United.
The Norwegian remains trophyless since replacing Jose Mourinho in the United hotseat back in December 2018. That’s despite a number of near-misses, with the penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in the Europa League still a sore point.
And now this season they have one less trophy to go for after West Ham knocked them out of the Carabao Cup.
After losing dramatically to United at the weekend, West Ham, making 10 changes, travelled north on Wednesday looking for a place in the EFL Cup fourth round.
And Manuel Lanzini’s ninth-minute strike was enough to sink United, who made 11 changes. Despite United’s 27 shots and 61% possession they could not break through. And in fact West Ham should have doubled their lead late on.
Indeed, United were this time unable to recover from a slow start once again. After the match, Solskjaer admitted that was one factor that simply needed to change.
However, their form in the Premier League certainly provides hope. United have four wins and a draw from their five games so far and are level at the top with Chelsea and Liverpool.
One of their main factors behind their fine start has been the form of Cristiano Ronaldo. Since re-signing for the club he has four goals in three games.
But despite his good start, Neville insists Solskjaer must find a way to keep the 36-year-old at the top of his game. And failure to do so could lead to the axe falling at Old Trafford.
Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Neville said: “There is no doubt Ronaldo is a make or break signing for Ole.”
While Solskjaer will likely at least be given this season to show if he’s up to the task, there is no doubting that the form of Ronaldo will be key.
Ronaldo brings the feel-good factor to Man Utd
The five-times Ballon d’Or winner has brought the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford, as Neville explained.
“This could give them a temporary shot in the arm that would potentially get them right up there.
“This news gives me more hope that Man Utd could have a great season. This is one of the most special players who has ever played the game of football.
“He’ll play regularly as a number nine and I’m sure they’ll put legs around him. Cristiano will be coming to win trophies, personal accolades and set the Premier League on fire.
“It is a different Cristiano Ronaldo. But he’s someone who still has those bursts of speed over short spaces that will cause problems.”