United We Stand's Andy Mitten joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball to discuss Manchester United and the misperceptions around Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's job security.
"He's not going to lose his job this weekend even if Manchester United lose 8-0." Andy Mitten outlined the discrepancy between the reality of what's happening behind the scenes at Manchester United and the wider audience's perceptions of a club in turmoil on Wednesday evening.
When OTB's Joe Molloy suggested that Solskjaer is switching between safety and the brink of being fired to Mitten, the United We Stand editor explained the conversations he has with his fellow media members as a way to reflect the confusion.
"It's so accelerated but that's not to say that it reflects reality. I work for several outlets and I have editors saying to me 'Can you write a piece now about whether Ole's going to be sacked this weekend if he loses at Everton?' for example, which came after the defeat in Istanbul last month.
"I said, 'I'm telling you now that he's not going to be sacked.' [and they respond] 'but that's the general feeling.'
"'I'm telling you now with the sources I've got, which I trust with my life, that he's not going to lose his job this weekend even if Manchester United lose 8-0'. And then I write a balanced piece."
Mitten acknowledged that there is concern about the quality of performances at times this season but also remarked that United are in a better position this year than they were at this time last year while noting their form right now is peaking for this season.
"League form has been good since [Leipzig], probably better than it's been at any point this season. United are within touching distance of the top of the table which none of the fans thought they'd win at the start of the season.
"I don't expect Man United to be Premier League champions...but the form has improved. The problem for United is the home form has been so poor with a lack of goals. The away form has been fine both in the league and the Carabao cup."
Solskjaer's United need a title
The Carabao Cup and FA Cup are important for Solskjaer this year, in Mitten's view.
"I think Ole Gunnar needs his first trophy. I think it's really important he gets a trophy this season. He's been in the job two years now. A trophy will definitely lift the spirits and win over some of the doubters.
"If you look at Manchester United's approval ratings...I think a League cup would lift by 10%. Nobody's saying this would alter the course of Manchester United's history. And the FA cup by 15%. And winning the league obviously makes you untouchable for a while."
Without a cup win, it will be even more important for Solskjaer to finish high up in the league. Mitten suggests there will be problems for Solsjkaer if he finishes outside the top four.
"If United were to finish seventh, he would have an uneasy summer and his job wouldn't be guaranteed. Seventh is not good enough for Manchester United...at the moment it doesn't look like Manchester United are going to finish seventh, but third closer to where the team finished last year."