Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has brought Man Utd together but Leicester clash is make or break – Andy Dunn

The goodwill he had built up over a long, unbeaten run pretty much gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a free pass last Sunday.

He messed up big-time in the FA Cup semi-final.

A good attack runs Chelsea ragged these days, hence the 54 Premier League goals that Frank Lampard’s side have ­conceded.

Jurgen Klopp sent out his first-choice front three on Wednesday and, while those three did not monopolise the scoresheet, Liverpool hit five past Chelsea.

For Salah, Mane and Firmino, read Greenwood, Martial and Rashford.

What Solskjaer was thinking of when he did not send out that triumvirate from the off against Chelsea is anybody’s guess.

Manchester United were disappointing in their FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea

Maybe he was prioritising the Premier League, in which case a 1-1 home draw with West Ham was not the ideal ­outcome.

Now, Manchester United are probably going to have to get a point at Leicester to secure a top-four finish.

And this should be classed as the most important game of Solskjaer’s career as United manager.

Even if they finish outside the top four, United could still claim a place in the Champions League by winning the Europa League.

But what if Solskjaer – either today at the King Power or through the Europa League – does not deliver Champions League football for Manchester United next season?

What does Ed Woodward do? Solskjaer is clearly a good sort. He has been on a decent run. He has encouraged very talented young players.

The game against Leicester is arguably Solskjaer’s biggest to date as United boss

I like him. I would probably stick with him.

But if United fail to qualify for the Champions League, ­Woodward will have a ­decision to make.

As demonstrated by their Project Restart run of form, this is a very able Manchester United squad.

They have a thrilling front three, backed up by a central midfield of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, with a relatively solid defence behind them.

It is a squad that belongs in the Champions League next season.

A lot of the elite European clubs are ruthless.

Quique Setien’s Barcelona finished second in La Liga and have a Champions League knockout finale to look ­forward to.

Ed Woodward and Solskjaer are thought to have a good relationship

But, unless he wins that blue-riband ­competition, the chances of him still being Barca boss at the start of next season are slim and none.

Whether you like it or not, that is the way of the modern super club.

If there is such a thing, United and Woodward have had a good lockdown. The club has been brilliant in regard to its ­community ­responsibilities and more than decent on the pitch.

But United should not be some sort of project, hoping to nurture a coach who has ­struggled to make his mark in previous roles.

Among the established power brokers of European football, there is bound to be managerial movement in what passes for a close season.

That is the way they work.

It is do or die for Solskjaer and United at the King Power

Their coaches have to deliver and even if they do, they are not made to feel comfortably safe.

And that is why today’s match at Leicester is the most important of Solskjaer’s tenure as Manchester United manager.

He blew it in the semi-final of the FA Cup – he cannot afford to blow qualification for next ­season’s Champions League.

Solskjaer is lovely guy… but this should be make or break.


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