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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs wins right now to buy time for his long-term Manchester United plans

“It’s never nice to see your colleagues lose their jobs – three in a very short space of time. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don’t, but it doesn’t make me any more concerned that it’s December.”

In Solskjaer’s defence, he inherited a lot of problems. Problems so bad that a club with the division’s biggest wage bill should now be eight points adrift of the top four and 22 points behind leaders Liverpool? No, but turning things around was not going to be a quick fix. Solskjaer stopped short of sticking the boot into Mourinho on Tuesday but he established almost immediately after arriving that there was a huge rebuilding job to be done.

“I don’t really have to go into that – I think it was clear to see,” Solskjaer said when asked what sort of state the club was in a year ago, before adding that he already has a “clear picture” of what his squad is going to look like by the end of next summer.

Whether Solskjaer will still be in charge by then will surely be influenced by what happens over the coming months. The coming days certainly offer an opportunity to earn a little breathing space and, while Solskjaer expects Mourinho to get a warm reception from Old Trafford, there should be no shortage of added motivation among those players who were relieved to see the back of the Portuguese. “We’ve got a great chance now over the next three days to turn people’s perceptions,” Solskjaer said.

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