Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went through a rollercoaster of emotions during Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Atalanta on Wednesday night.
The calls for his head had intensified long before the Champions League clash with the Red Devils having taken just one point from a possible nine in their three Premier League outings.
So, when United found themselves trailing 2-0 courtesy of goals from Mario Pašalić and Merih Demiral, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Solskjaer’s position was more vulnerable than ever.
Man Utd 3-2 Atalanta
However, as has so often been the case during Solskjaer’s tenure, United pulled a result out of the fire just when things looked to have reached their nadir with the hosts eventually winning 3-2.
Goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo elevated United to the top of their group and almost certainly bought Solskjaer more time in the Old Trafford hot seat.
That being said, the former Cardiff City coach wasn’t completely out of the woods when the final whistle sounded because he still had to face the questions of the world media.
Man Utd vs Atalanta Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Solskjaer faces the press
And while that might not sound too difficult on paper, it proved to be an eventful few minutes for Solskjaer, who even attracted the ire of Jamie Carragher for his comments about United fans.
However, perhaps the most heated moment that came from Solskjaer’s post-Atalanta media duties came when he stepped in front of Des Kelly’s microphone for a chat with BT Sport.
And one question in particular seemed to irk Solskjaer beyond the calm, composed and happy-go-lucky attitude that we so often see from him in the mixed zone through wins, losses and draws.
Solskjaer fights back at reporter’s question
Just over a minute into their interview, Kelly remarked: “They looked like they were playing for you. I know it’s a rocky old week,” which caused Solskjaer’s demeanour to change within an instant.
“Don’t even start,” the United boss replied. “Don’t disrespect the players. They play for Manchester United and they know they are the luckiest men in the world.
“I said that to them that tonight they are the luckiest men in the world because the 11 plus the subs, they are the ones who can play for Man United and that is what so many millions of boys and girls want to do.”
Solskjaer shows his fight
Kelly’s hypothesis was certainly a fair one and it was interesting to see Solskjaer showing the sort of bite and retaliation that is far more often associated with coaches like Jurgen Klopp in interviews.
However, it’s clear that Kelly’s well-meaning suggestion was one that struck a nerve with Solskjaer, which is perhaps understandable when so many fans have been calling for his departure this week.
It really goes to show that although we might not see the fight and fire from Solskjaer in interviews too often that you can rest assured that he’s got plenty of warrior’s spirit behind the scenes.