Ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby, Pep Guardiola has thrown his support behind under-fire Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – but warned that results will dictate the Norwegian’s future.
Solskjaer’s position at Old Trafford is under increased scrutiny and got worse after consecutive defeats blew United’s huge chance to progress beyond the Champions League group stages.
Guardiola, whose Manchester City side go to Old Trafford on Saturday, believes Solskjaer has enough character to ride out the problems.
“When we win, we’re geniuses and when we lose, we have to be sacked. It happens at United and all the clubs around the world. We know it,” Guardiola said.
“That’s why we get a big salary – for these situations. It’s important to know the value of Solskjaer, he is there. I don’t have to give him (personal) support because he is strong enough and knows this job.
“We have to go there thinking we’re going to face the best version of them and talk about what we have to do.”
United are a point ahead of City in the Premier League table, with both Manchester clubs possessing a game in hand on their title rivals. Guardiola was keen to play down the significance of this weekend’s derby but knows victory would act as a fillip to his squad, who lost at Old Trafford in March.
“The mood, the environment, is exceptional this season,” Guardiola added. “With the situation and the lack of preparation… the players have responded very well so I have no complaints.
“It’s not a knockout game. It’s three more points, an important one because of the opponent’s quality, but there are a lot of fixtures to come.”
United are bruised following defeat by RB Leipzig in midweek, although City’s boss believes that despite a disappointing overall display, the mood could have been very different had they somehow pinched a draw in Germany.
“Anthony Martial had two clear chances against PSG, he misses them, and Leipzig could be 3-3 in the last minute,” the Catalan said. “It then would’ve been (about) the spirit and character of United.
“Every time we win a game in the group stage I always say well done. The Premier League is the same, it’s always so complicated and difficult.’