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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes Man Utd job statement ahead of Mauricio Pochettino showdown

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While Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is Ed Woodward and co.’s prime target to replace Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the frame for the role.

The Norwegian has led United to five wins on the spin and injected some of the vibrancy fans got used to during Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden tenure.

United sit sixth in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s visit to Wembley and another victory would strengthen calls for Solskjaer to be appointed on a full-time basis.

However, Solskjaer says the clash against Tottenham will not have a pivotal impact on his or Pochettino’s chances of permanently taking the reins.

“It’s not an audition – it’s not about me at all,” Solskjaer said. “It should always be about the players.

“It’s not about me – and it’s not about [Pochettino]. We don’t kick a ball. The players kick the ball.

“We might make a decision here or there, but it’s down to the players to perform – and my boys are ready.”

Solskjaer has met met Pochettino only once – after beating the Argentine’s Southampton team 1-0 at St Mary’s when he was in charge of Cardiff in April 2014.

During his his short, magical reign, Solskjaer has sprinkled stardust over Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.

The three superstars have once again sparkled under the leadership of United’s interim manager.

Now Alexis Sanchez is in line for Solskjaer’s personal touch as the 45-year-old continues to lift the gloom which gathered under the sacked Mourinho.

Sanchez, 30, arrived at Old Trafford 12 months ago from Arsenal on a record-breaking £500,000 a week. But although his wages are sky-high, his performances have been low-level, with just three goals all season.

Now Solksjaer is determined to change the fortunes of the Chilean striker. The United boss said: “Every player needs that eye-to-eye connection, every single one, because they want to know what is expected of them.

“I want to get to know them, what they can give and what they think they can give.

“It’s not just me telling them what to do – it’s about what are your strengths? What can you give to the team?

“I don’t think players think about what they cost or what they earn when they go on the pitch.

“But of course Alexis has got high standards for himself. It’s a fresh start for him with me and Mick Phelan coming in – a new lease of life maybe.

“Hopefully we can see the best of him because he is a top, top player. There were high expectations but that’s how it is at Manchester United. When you sign big players you expect them to perform straight away.

“That’s something you’ve got to deal with – the pressure that comes with the job.

But he does work hard to get back into his best shape. We’ve had the issue with his injury and that’s been the problem. He’s not really had a chance to show what he can do.

“It will still take time before we can fairly say with Alexis, ‘Yeah, you’re fit. You’re 100 per cent. You’ve got many games on the run and now we expect to see the best level that you can perform’.”

This week Solskjaer has been happy to talk to many of his stars on their break in Dubai.

He added: “I haven’t managed to go through that with every single one but we’ve had a few individual chats.

“It’s probably easier for them to speak to me than in front of a big group. That’s the way I’ve enjoyed being coached.

“I always loved one-to-one coaching here, with chats to the gaffer (Sir Alex Ferguson), Rene (Meulensteen), Carlos (Queiroz), Steve McClaren and Brian Kidd.

“It’s been high-intensity training, it’s been tough but they have a day off to recharge the batteries and we should be ready for Sunday.”




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