United slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Champions League outsiders Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey on Wednesday night, continuing a streaky start to the season which has seen the Old Trafford club claim big wins against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig but notably struggle in the Premier League.
United were widely mocked for their defending in Turkey, including for Demba Ba’s opening goal when the forward was allowed to run almost entirely unchallenged from inside his own half as the United defense were caught ball-watching en masse at the wrong end of the pitch.
Languishing in 15th place in the Premier League table with just seven points from their opening six games, and with a trip to fourth-placed Everton looming on Saturday, Solskjaer is facing mounting pressure over his position.
Adding to that are reports from the Manchester Evening News that the club have now made contact with representatives for former Tottenham boss Pochettino, who remains a free agent after being sacked by the London club last November.
Insiders cited by the newspaper claim that Solskjaer – who recently reached a landmark 100 games in charge of the club at which he was a playing legend – had the support of the hierarchy before the game against Basaksehir, but noted that a defeat at Everton this weekend could leave them as low as 17th in the Premier League table.
Following the loss in Turkey, an under-pressure Solskjaer declined to stoke the fires of speculation surrounding his position, stating: “Of course, it’s early on and opinions are out there all the time. You’ve got to stay strong.
“I’m employed by the club to do a job and I do that to the best of my ability with my staff.”
However, Pochettino has consistently been linked with the Old Trafford hotseat and remains one of the most coveted managers in world football.
The fact that he is yet to find a new position almost 12 months after leaving Spurs inevitably adds to any links with the job at United.
Appearing on Sky Sports this week, the 48-year-old Argentine said he was “looking forward to being back in the game” and hopes to return to management “soon.”
Pochettino has remained in the UK since leaving Spurs, where he was replaced by former United manager Jose Mourinho. He has been linked with a host of jobs, including at Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg.
Since taking over from Mourinho at Old Trafford in December of 2018, Solskjaer has led United on a roller-coaster ride of form, starting off with a 12-match unbeaten run before a spectacular slump at the end of his first season in charge.
Last season saw United struggle for large periods before ending the domestic campaign with a 14-game unbeaten run to secure a Champions League spot.
This season they are still without a domestic league win at Old Trafford – their worst home start to a season in 48 years – but have recorded impressive wins in Europe, beating last season’s Champions League finalists PSG 2-1 away in Paris and battering semi-finalists Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford.
Their erratic form will need to pick up dramatically however, should Solskjaer wish to stave off talk of the threat to his position, especially with the highly-regarded Pochettino waiting in the wings.