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'Man Utd boss Solskjaer deserves until the end of the season to save his job' - Park Ji-sung

11:00 GMT+3 20/11/2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Park Ji-Sung Manchester United GFX
In an exclusive interview with Goal, the former Red Devil discusses the current manager, Wayne Rooney's possible return, and his anti-racism plea

Former Manchester United ace Park Ji-sung believes that the club's under-fire manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, should be given until the end of the season to prove that he is the right man for the top job at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer is under intense pressure ahead of Saturday's trip to Watford, with United having won just one of their past six Premier League matches - an ignominious run of results which included embarrassing home defeats to great rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

Consequently, the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Brendan Rodgers are now being touted as possible successors.

What's been said?

Park feels that Solskjaer deserves praise for restoring a feel-good factor at Old Trafford after the toxic atmosphere left behind by predecessor Jose Mourinho. 

However, the South Korean, who won four Premier League titles and a Champions League during his time at United, freely admits that the onus is now on the Norwegian to prove that he is an elite coach between now and the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

"It’s been three years for Solskjaer as a manager and I believe that this will be the defining season for him, in terms of whether he continues at the club," Park told GOAL.

"I think that he deserves credit for what he's done at United, and deserves to fight [for his job] until the end of the season, but he needs to show he can continue after that.

"He did well to bring the old United spirit and culture back to us.

"Before him, we had Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, who had reputations as world-class coaches, but it didn’t work out, so I think that United learned from those experiences and that they were key in the decision to stick with Solskjaer [after the Liverpool and City defeats].

"But the most important point is whether he can compete with Pep (Guardiola), (Jurgen) Klopp, (Thomas) Tuchel, the best coaches in the world.

“Therefore, I believe we should wait until the end of this season and then see. But if he can’t show [he's good enough], it will be difficult for him to continue."

Park backs Rooney for United job

Wayne Rooney is highly unlikely to be in the running should a managerial vacancy soon arise at Old Trafford, given United's all-time leading scorer has only just embarked on a coaching career, at Derby County.

The former forward is finding life tough going at Pride Park, with the Rams rock bottom of the Championship and beset by financial problems.

However, retains the utmost faith in his old team-mate and believes Rooney could one day return to United as manager.

"I believe Wayne can make it," the 40-year-old said. "He had great experiences from his very young age and he also had many difficult moments in his career that he overcame eventually. 

"For sure, he has great leadership skills as well. So, I believe he can be United's manager in the future."

Park's plea to stop singing racist song

Park obviously retains a huge amount of affection for United and their supporters but last month he asked the club's fans to stop singing a chant meant to honour him that was, in reality, racially insensitive. 

"I’m happy that it seems that the song hasn't been heard at the stadium since my request," he adds. 

"I think, 'Should I have asked earlier?’ But I never imagined that the song would still be used at the games!

"The issue of racism is not only about football, of course. It’s about society in general. 

"But I’m grateful for the fans who received my request well, positively, and I also hope that nobody suffers from racism anymore."

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