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‘Bigger name than Solskjaer would be praised at Man Utd’ – Plenty of positives for Red Devils, says Parker

The ex-defender feels the Norwegian coach has been unfairly treated at times, with there still major silverware to be won to Old Trafford this season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced unfair criticism at Manchester United, says Paul Parker, with it likely that a bigger and more experienced name would have been cast in a positive light.

The man currently calling the shots at Old Trafford has plenty of favour within an expectant fan base due to his efforts as a player for the Red Devils.

Any criticism from those in the stands this season has tended to be aimed in the direction of underperforming players or a much-maligned board.

Solskjaer has, however, seen plenty of questions asked about his future from afar, with progress continuing to be slow at the 13-time Premier League champions.

Parker believes detractors need to look at the bigger picture, with United still in contention for a top-four finish and major silverware across FA Cup and Europa League campaigns.

The former Red Devils defender told the Racing Post ahead of a crucial clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday: “There has been so much negativity surrounding Manchester United that it’s easy to forget what is still possible for them this season.

“United can’t win the Premier League title or the Carabao Cup, but they head to Stamford Bridge on Monday night still fighting on three important fronts.

“They’re among the favourites for the Europa League, face Derby in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and if they beat Chelsea they’ll be just two points behind the Blues in the race for the top four.

“As a footballer at this stage of the season you can’t ask for much more than that. 

“Maybe if there was a different person in charge of the club, a bigger name with more managerial experience, people would be focusing on the positives.

“As it is, though, everyone is condemning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and saying he should never have got the job.

“But some of the things that have gone against him – the injury to Marcus Rashford and the Paul Pogba situation, for example – are out of his control and he shouldn’t be blamed for them.

“Manchester United will always be a big story because the club has been so successful in the past.

“They’re still the number-one talking point but Ole and his players just need to ignore the criticism and focus on winning games of football because there’s still so much to play for.

“Anything can happen in the FA Cup and remember that United won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho with a poor team – and a bit of luck.

“I certainly wouldn’t have Chelsea down as home bankers to beat them at Stamford Bridge.

“The English press always seem to want to write great things about Frank Lampard but if it was someone else doing a similar job at Chelsea then they might be under more pressure.

“They have not been great at home this season and United’s record in these big games is decent.”

United have already beaten Chelsea on two occasions this season, with a 4-0 Premier League win on the opening weekend followed by a 2-1 Carabao Cup success in October.

If Solskjaer can complete a notable hat-trick, having fared admirably against fellow heavyweights during his reign, then a six-point gap to the fourth-placed Blues can be closed.

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