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‘Solskjaer needs trophy to avoid Manchester United pressure’ – Neville reflects on more semi-final heartache

The Red Devils legend believes the Norwegian coach, who has spent over two years at the Old Trafford helm, has to starting delivering tangible success

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will find himself under pressure at Manchester United unless he delivers a trophy says Gary Neville, with more semi-final heartache endured by the Red Devils in 2020-21.

Having fallen at that hurdle on three occasions last season, questions are being asked of whether the players at Old Trafford are mentally strong enough to land major silverware.

Solskjaer has steered around that debate, with the Norwegian refusing to read too much into what he considers to be a run of back luck.

Having collected many medals as a player, the former United striker is aware of the expectation in Manchester.

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Neville believes a coach who has already faced plenty of criticism throughout his reign needs to start hitting targets, as rivals Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have done, in order to remain in his current post long-term.

The United legend told Sky Sports after witnessing a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup: “I said before that I felt there was more expectation on this game for me as a Man United fan than there will be a week on Sunday against Liverpool at Anfield.

“No one this season expected Man United to challenge for the league title, but I think there was a feeling: win a trophy.

“Ole, at the end of this season, will have been there two-and-a-half years, and to go two-and-a-half years without a trophy, it will start to bring a pressure, because it helps you on your way.

“Jurgen Klopp needed a trophy and eventually got the Champions League. Pep Guardiola won the League Cup, Jose Mourinho at various clubs has won the League Cup just to get them going. He needed something and they were so close to a final with this game and in good form.

“It does pose a problem. I wouldn’t say, sat here as a Man United fan, it causes me a great problem, that in any way shape or form I’m looking at the manager’s job at any point, but it will bring pressure down the line. Because if they go to Anfield and lose, people will then say ‘glass half empty’ again. It can turn like that.

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“The reason Ole will not be resting on his laurels is because when you’re in a job which presents the problem he had four, five, six weeks ago when he had people questioning whether he’d make it through to the end of the season.

“When it gets good, like it has in the last couple of days when they’re joint-top of the league and have a game in hand now on Liverpool, and they’re in a semi-final, people think everything is fantastic, you don’t get carried away the other way, either.”

Before the crunch clash with arch-rivals Liverpool, United have an FA Cup third-round date with Watford and a midweek trip to another north west neighbour, Burnley.

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