Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s claims for the Manchester United job will be given a serious test by upcoming matches against Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, according to former team-mate Dwight Yorke.
Solskjaer will set a record if his United side beat Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday as he would become the first manager to win their first seven Premier League games in charge of a club.
The 45-year-old has also led United into the fifth round of the FA Cup after knocking out Arsenal on Friday, with a repeat of last year’s final against Chelsea up next.
A kind run of Premier League fixtures has seen Solskjaer maintain a perfect record in all competitions since replacing Jose Mourinho on an interim basis last month, with United moving back into contention for Champions League qualification.
But, in February, United face successive matches against PSG in the Champions League, Chelsea in the FA Cup and leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.
Yorke backs Solskjaer to be awarded the United job on a permanent basis, though the club’s former striker feels results in the next month will prove crucial to the Norwegian’s claims.
“I think that’s what you’ll be judged on ultimately when you play for United,” Yorke told Omnisport, speaking at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before Monday’s cup draw.
“No disrespect to the teams that they’ve played so far, it’s teams that we expect to beat. And he’s done that. He’s done that convincingly in a very, very impressive way. Good to see.
“And I think everybody will be pointing their fingers when they meet the likes of Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain and that’s where you’re expecting your big players to try and produce.
“So they will be tested then and then people will start to make the decision on whether Ole is the man to take us forward or not.”
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PSG are expected to be without talismanic forward Neymar for at least the first leg of their last-16 tie with United due to a foot injury, with Yorke believing his old club’s fine form may give them the edge in what promises to be a titanic tussle.
“I’ve been in that dressing room,” Yorke added. “Once you’re on a winning run, that confidence breeds throughout the team and they really struggled earlier on in the season but now they are on a high. Everyone is fighting for position.
“They are in a very good place. And when you are in a very good place, anything is possible. We know Paris Saint-Germain are a very talented team with the kind of players that we all love to watch and on any given day they can be unstoppable but so is Man United.
“I think they are on their way back and if they continue this rich vein of form that they’re showing there’s no reason that they should be fearing the likes of Paris Saint-Germain. Yes, they’ve got great attacking players, but they’re vulnerable at the back and Man United could exploit that.
“So you know tit for tat and we are in a very good spell here at the moment. And when you are in that sort of form I think anything is possible. Interesting games ahead, a difficult game to call.
“I would say before Ole had really got the boys into this position Paris Saint-Germain would have been favourites. I think now they may still be favourites, but only just, whereas before they would have been odds-on favourite.
“And I think United have flipped that because of the good results and form that they’re showing under Ole.”
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