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Carragher: Solskjaer will never win a Premier League or Champions League as Man United manager

Carragher’s Sky colleague Gary Neville, meanwhile, defended his refusal to ‘call out’ his former team-mate.

Jamie Carragher speaking on Sky Sports.
Jamie Carragher speaking on Sky Sports.

FORMER LIVERPOOL DEFENDER and current Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher says Manchester United will not win a Premier League title or Champions League for as long as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains the club’s manager, while his Sky colleague Gary Neville has defended his refusal to ‘call out’ his former United team-mate despite recent pressure.

Carragher and Neville were discussing United’s woeful recent form in spite of their three high-profile summer signings, with both suggesting that the club will likely stick with the Norwegian until the end of the season.

Carragher, however, matter-of-factly set out his belief that United will not win a league or European title under Solskjaer and that even if they win a less prestigious trophy this season, the club should acknowledge that its former striker is not in the same class as his peers at several of England’s other major clubs.

Carragher stressed that Solskjaer had performed well relative to his own previous managerial experience — or lack thereof at the top level — but that United fans and even Solskjaer himself must realise the former Molde and Cardiff boss is not equipped to compete with his title-chasing counterparts.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a really good job as Manchester United manager — and I’m not saying that trying to be clever from a Liverpool point of view,” Carragher said.

“What I mean by that is this could have gone horribly wrong for Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come in with experience from Scandinavia and a year at Cardiff. I said this about Frank Lampard: I can’t judge Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against, maybe, [Jose] Mourinho or [Louis] van Gaal, who possibly did average jobs themselves.

But this will never change: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not win a league title or Champions League trophy as Manchester United manager. He is not at the level of the other managers — in terms of Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel or Pep Guardiola. They’ve got years of experience behind them in terms of winning big trophies. Ole hasn’t got that. So, where he’s gotten them right now — he’s done a really good job.

“But this team is a good team,” Carragher continued. “I don’t believe it’s a poor team. I think it’s a great collection of individuals; but — there’s a feeling around that, ‘If Ole wins a trophy this season, he needs to stay; he needs to win a trophy to stay in the job.’

Manchester United will only win maybe the FA Cup or the Europa League. If he won one of them, for me, that would make no difference. I wouldn’t be thinking at all about changing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right now but Manchester United, at the end of the season, whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won a trophy or not, need to have a better manager. That’s not a criticism of Ole — but they need a manager who can compete with the other managers in this league. And Solskjaer, unfortunately — and he’ll know that himself, and every Man United fan will know that themselves — is not at the level of the other [top] managers in the Premier League.

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Neville said that Solskjaer “should be under massive pressure with the squad that’s been assembled and the fact that he’s been in the job, now, two and a half, three years”, but added that “it’s not the right time” to discuss the Champions League-winning former striker’s future at United.

Indeed, following up on an earlier point made about the speculation surrounding Steve Bruce at Newcastle, and how such discussion about a person’s employment is not the norm in any other walk of life, Neville added:

I’ve got Manchester United fans on my social media timeline all the time saying, ‘Gary, he’s your mate, you won’t call him out.’ No, I won’t. No, I won’t. I [didn't] call Steve Kean out or Arsenal Wenger at Arsenal. I’m not going to come on this show 11 years later and ask for a manager to be sacked. It’s never going to happen.

“He’s a club legend, he’s my team-mate, I actually like him a lot, and Manchester United have failed with two previous managers who were world class. I think they persist until the end of the season. I do disagree with Jamie in the sense that if they win a Europa League and FA Cup, and they finish in the top four, I would say that’s still building a successful team.”

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