In pictures: Leicester v Man Utd
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Manchester United managerial target Zinedine Zidane’s availability is piling the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Red Devils are on a rocky run of form, compounded by a 4-2 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday which has reportedly spurred the United board into making contingency plans.
Without a truly convincing victory since the 4-1 thrashing of Newcastle United on Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut, the emphatic loss to the Foxes has heaped more pressure on Solskjaer.
The decision to field an unfit Harry Maguire who had only just returned from injury backfired, while Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic admitted that they had lost to the better team.
Things are only set to get harder as a tough Champions League double-header with Atalanta awaits, before a torrid run of Premier League fixtures after that.
Based on recent performances, the United board are supposedly scouring their options if results do not pick up, and Zidane is one of the star-studded names on the market.
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According to Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda, Zidane was contacted during the international break.
Frustratingly though, the Frenchman is thought to be holding out for the opportunity to manage his national team once Didier Deschamps departs.
So far in his career, Zidane has not exactly established himself as an adventurous manager, having only taken charge of Real Madrid.
However, his remarkable run of three consecutive Champions League titles as boss is exactly why his signature is so coveted.
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To compound United’s misery, the legend’s biographer Frederic Fermel claims that “Zidane has never been interested in the Premier League and never will be.”
That news will not only come as a blow to United, but to Newcastle too who are seemingly toying with the idea of parting ways with Steve Bruce.
Solskjaer and Bruce are two of the most under-pressure managers in the Premier League, although the United boss will be buoyed by the fact the United board reportedly consider him to have ‘credit in the bank’.
The Norwegian has built a buffer for himself due to an innate ability to pull results from nowhere when the pressure begins to mount.
Thankfully for him, he will have lots of opportunities to repeat that feat over the coming weeks.
High-profile ties with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool present him with a chance to make a statement, but they also run the risk of angering fans by getting badly turned over.
The injury absences of first-choice centre-back partnership Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire will make things doubly difficult.
The point still remains that Solskjaer is still in the job, and he may be helped out by the notion that United would have to table something incredible to lure Zidane to a league he supposedly ‘has no interest in’.
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