Ole Gunnar Solskjaer digs out of hole but Mauricio Pochettino threat still real

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a survivor, if nothing else – and a lucky one to boot.

There’s always an air of inevitability that the Norwegian is heading for the sack at Manchester United sooner or later.

It’s been there pretty much from the day he rode to the club’s rescue in December 2018.

Nobody then predicted the emergency caretaker coach would win ten of his first 11 games and be handed the reins permanently. But that’s what happened.

And this time last year nobody could have predicted he would be around long after a turbulent spell of turgid performances and results in the early part of the 2019-20 campaign. But that’s what happened.

So when the knives are being sharpened for a third time in under two years – as they were for much of a desperately one-sided south coast contest – it’s best not to jump to conclusions.

Solskjaer the player was renowned for popping up with result-changing strikes. Indeed, the one-time United super-sub made an entire career out of it.

And Solskjaer the manager is proving equally adept at digging himself out of the mire just as millions of Red Devils worldwide are resigned to a painful, sad end to the 1999 Treble winner’s stint at the helm.

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Make no mistake, had lightning Brighton taken their chances yesterday – rather than strike the woodwork FOUR times and VAR twice overturn penalty decisions against them – that would have been the overwhelming feeling among the Old Trafford masses.

Defeat last weekend at home to Crystal Palace had already put Solskjaer back in the dock.

The phone-ins were jammed with irate supporters who had lost belief in his ability to ever revive those long-gone glory days.

So, too, had the gamblers. United’s title odds had not just drifted, they had disappeared over the horizon – going from 14-1 to 30-1 after one shock reverse.

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Who knows where they would have been had they got the nothing they deserved here?

As it was, United, thanks to Lewis Dunk’s own goal, Marcus Rashford’s superb solo strike and Bruno Fernades’ last kick-of-the-game penalty, somehow escaped a battering and left with three points.

What a travesty. Seriously, aside a brief 15 minutes after the break, all the quality came from Graham Potters’ hosts.

Solskjaer will know that better than anyone and that, unless there is a sharp, swift improvement before the international break, talk of the bullet will become deafening.

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His cause is not helped by Mauricio Pochettino remaining unemployed. Until the Argentine is in a job, United’s original choice to replace Jose Mourinho will always be on the lips of Ole’s detractors.

The ex-Tottenham boss is a world-class coach, apparently. A team of his would never perform this poorly against the Seagulls, allegedly.

Except that’s nonsense. Apart from never winning silverware as a manager – from Espanyol to Southampton to Spurs – Poch’s North Londoners were walloped here last season. He was sacked soon after.

Now, you could argue this United team looked equally lightweight yesterday – and Solskjaer, therefore, warrants a similar fate.

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But that is to ignore the fact Albion, inspired by the irrepressible Tariq Lamptey, are miles better this season.

Much like United were after Fernandes signed last January – and sparked a lengthy winning run in all competitions.

Now, you can condemn the club’s failure to bring in any similar game-changers this summer. It's pathetic.

Yet you can’t blame Solskjaer for that – unless transfer targets are rejecting United because he is in the dug-out.

If so, they should check out this crazy clash. Always better to be lucky than good, after all.

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