Ole Gunnar Solskjær refused to be drawn on whether his players could cause him to be sacked after Manchester United’s dismal 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday night.
While United have six points after three Group H matches, Roy Keane stated following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Arsenal in the Premier League that Solskjær’s players may cost the manager his job. This view was put to Solskjær after both Basaksehir goals – from Demba Ba and Edin Visca, in the first half – were the result of slipshod organisation and defending.
“I decline to comment on such a thing,” Solskjær said. “It’s early on [in the season] – opinions are out there all the time. You have to stay strong. I’m employed to do a job by the club and I do it to the best of my ability, with my staff.”
Solskjær urged his team to respond at Everton on Saturday. “The last two results have been a punch in our stomach,” he said. “And the only way I know of, and I hope the players as well – the only way to respond is to get your act together for Everton. That’s going to be tough and difficult. I’m glad we’ve got a game on Saturday.”
Ba’s opener came when the Turkish champions broke from a United corner, the centre-forward being left completely unmarked near halfway. Visca’s derived from Juan Mata losing concentration and the ball to Irfan Kahveci, the latter going through unattended before finding his team-mate.
Solskjær criticised his side and himself over Ba’s finish. “Obviously it’s not a goal you normally concede. We’ve not done our duties and that’s my responsibility. We played a short corner and then everyone forgets to get back with the players they’re playing against [marking] and Demba Ba snuck in behind us.
“Lack of communication and lack of good decisions, you don’t really see those kind of goals at this level. We shouldn’t concede easy goals like this, we know how hard it is to create goals and create chances and when you give easy soft goals like the two we have done today it makes it hard.
“I am disappointed with the result. We picked a team to win the game and hoped we had enough to create chances and we didn’t.”