(Reuters) – Manchester United will be focused on getting their campaign back on track when former boss Jose Mourinho arrives with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, adding that reports of his own managerial demise made him laugh.
British media reported Solskjaer had told his players he risked losing his job if United were to lose to Tottenham on Wednesday and Manchester City on Saturday.
“Sometimes you laugh when you read stories about what I’ve said. At least I know sources everyone is talking about aren’t sources – they’re made up, blatant lies,” Solskjaer said.
“Three or four days isn’t going to change a lot, but these games are a good chance for us to prove things.”
Mourinho, who United dismissed last December and replaced with Solskjaer, returned to management with Tottenham last month and has guided them to two league victories ahead of his return to Old Trafford.
By contrast, United have struggled for consistency and sit ninth on 18 points. But Solskjaer backed his players to turn things around, saying they did not need extra motivation in the form of Mourinho.
“I don’t think whoever the manager or the opposition team is will change their motivation,” Solskjaer told reporters. “When you put that shirt on, it doesn’t matter who you’re going to play against, you’ve got to give it your all.
“Jose will get a good reception. That’s a testament to this club and the fans. They’ll remember the 2-1/2 years he was here, he won trophies, so I’m 100% sure that fans, the staff and the club will welcome him.”
United will again be without Paul Pogba, with the Frenchman recovering from an ankle injury that he picked up at the end of September. But fellow midfielders Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic could return to the team from injuries.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)