LONDON: One down, two to go. Popular wisdom suggested Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had three games in which to save his job at Manchester United.
A 3-0 victory away to Tottenham – albeit dismally poor opposition – halted the rot after defeats to Leicester and, humiliatingly, at home to Liverpool.
A brilliant goal by Cristiano Ronaldo – his 11th against Tottenham, the most of any English opponent – and second-half strikes from Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford saw United coast to the points in north London.
While Solskjaer will have enjoyed his evening, the same cannot be said for Nuno as the Tottenham fans turned on their boss Nuno, chanting ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ and made their feelings clear at full-time with a loud chorus of boos.
The Portuguese seems like a man condemned and with his side toothless in attack and unable to muster a shot on target during the 90 minutes, patience in the fanbase is already running out.
Spurs could have gone into the top four with a win, but that never looked on the cards and with five wins and five defeats from their opening 10 games, a challenge for Champions League qualification looks beyond this team.
United and their fans are conflicted over Solskjaer. Fans revere him for his dramatic Champions League-winning goal against FC Bayern in Barcelona in 1999; they appreciate his modesty, his honesty and his generosity of spirit.
Even after the Liverpool nightmare Solskjaer spent more than 10 minutes signing autographs on the steps of Old Trafford. Most managers under that pressure would hide in waiting for a security escort then drive off at high speed.
Paul Pogba said openly after the Leicester defeat that change was needed, without specifying whether that meant the manager or among his team-mates. Not that Pogba may be around for much longer, either. Sunday’s sent-off substitute is out of contract at the end of the season and Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain lurk in the wings.
Solskjaer may survive but the odds are still stacked against him.