Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his team earn three much-needed points against Everton on Saturday afternoon but with pressure mounting, will it be enough to keep the Norwegian in the Old Trafford hot seat?

A Bruno Fernandes brace and Edinson Cavani’s first strike for his new club cancelled out Bernard’s opener for The Toffees to claim three points for Solskjaer, a result which will act as a significant pressure valve for the struggling head coach. 

United came into Saturday’s early kick-off still smarting from a humiliating 2-1 Champions League defeat to relative minnows Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday, with reports suggesting that Solskjaer had received an iteration of the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from the equally under-fire Old Trafford board.

Saturday’s result will go some way to quietening those calls but others might suggest that given United’s patchy form of late, it won’t be too long before Solskjaer is feeling the pressure once again. 

Solskjaer’s critics, of whom there are many, suggest that his footballing philosophy is a bad fit for the club. Through much of their considerable success of the last three decades or so, Manchester United’s football was effervescent: a robust mix of midfield steel and sublime creativity, which was almost impossible to stop at times.

Solskjaer’s version is the paint-by-numbers version of this. His team is at its best when the opposition dares to push up the field to leave gaps at the back for United’s speedy attackers to exploit. However, they have had struggles when teams defiantly sit deep and stifle Solskjaer’s attack-minded players – perhaps explaining why United’s record at Old Trafford is so miserable this season. 

Prior to kick-off, we observed a minute’s silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday next weekend, as well as honouring United legend Nobby Stiles MBE ❤️

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He has not been helped by some of his most senior players, either. Captain Harry Maguire has endured a dip in form which some have traced back to this late-night arrest on the Greek island of Mykonos prior to the start of the season.

David de Gea, once almost impenetrable in goal, can’t seem to iron mistakes out of his game nowadays and Paul Pogba doesn’t appear a player worth even a fraction of the reported £90 million ($118 million) they paid for him in 2016. 

That’s not to say there haven’t been bright sparks. Bruno Fernandes has filled a creative need in the middle of the park, while academy youngster Mason Greenwood appears to be an outstanding finisher and Marcus Rashford has been making positive headlines both on and off the pitch. 

But as Solskjaer explained after the Everton win, he feels that outside forces are conspiring against his charges.

We were set up to fail,” he told British broadcaster BT Sport. “The kick-off time set us up to fail. We have been to Turkey, played loads of games this season already, we got back Thursday morning and we are playing Saturday lunchtime, it’s an absolute shambles.

These boys deserve better. Luke Shaw has got injured because of it. It’s a hamstring which might be a long one and Marcus Rashford might be struggling.

The authorities set us up for fail, who is responsible? We’ve had enough of that. Players this season, in these times, a pandemic, mentally and physically it’s draining. Let us play on a Sunday, there’s an international break after this, it’s a joke.”

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This unusually candid polemic from Solskjaer perhaps provides a glimpse into the full picture inside the Old Trafford corridors of power. The Norwegian will have been under no illusions that a loss to Everton would have only increased the questions into his job performance, even appearing to suggest that there is some type of grand conspiracy at play ‘setting him up to fail’. 

Of course, as long as viable replacements such as Mauricio Pochettino remain without a job there will always be a high level of scrutiny on Solskjaer. A career in the Manchester United hot seat will always lead to immense pressure for the person sitting in it, but Solskjaer hasn’t managed to much to relieve it.

Each good performance, such as the Champions League wins against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig this season, is met with statements about ‘finally turning a corner’ only for the team to stumble in their next Premier League fixture.

One suspects that the writing remains on the wall for the Norwegian. Will he be in his job at Christmas? Probably. Maybe too at the end of the season. But for a club so enamored by their own rich history and decades of success, it is hard to admit one’s own shortcomings.

Is it too soon to sack the club’s legendary former striker? Who is best placed to replace him? Why can’t United get the most out of their big-money signings?

Doubts linger over whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the answer at Old Trafford. First, though, the club have to start asking the right questions.