Soccer-Solskjaer confident of handling pressure ahead of difficult games

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Manchester United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 16, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

(Reuters) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Tuesday he has no concerns about his position at the club after a disappointing run of results, adding he can handle the mounting pressure on him ahead of a testing run of fixtures.

United have dropped points in their last three Premier League games and will face Liverpool this weekend before taking on Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City along with Atalanta in the Champions League in the coming weeks.

Solskjaer signed a three-year contract extension in July, having joined the club initially on an interim basis in December 2018 before his permanent appointment the following year in March.

"We've progressed over the years -- sixth when I was here for half a season, third, second. You can see the progress. We've signed some players that have raised expectations," Solskjaer told reporters before United host Atalanta on Wednesday.

"There's pressure on me, of course. We've been under pressure before but come through it. I'm just looking forward to the response now and I'm in dialogue with the club all of the time, so that's an open and honest discussion.

"Every team will go through a period and we are in one now of poor form. We know that and we know we need to improve... Hopefully, the reaction will come tomorrow."

United are third in Group F with three points from two games, one behind leaders Atalanta.

Solskjaer also defended forward Cristiano Ronaldo from criticism over his lack of pressing in recent performances, which came into focus after United's 4-2 loss at Leicester City on Saturday.

"Cristiano is a top player and we know what he can do. He is doing everything he can to help the team," Solskjaer added.

"There are 11 players with different roles and responsibilities. We put a team out we think will win. We didn't beat Leicester so there is always criticism when you don't win.

"Of course it is not a gimmicky, jovial and happy camp... I have seen a reaction. Conceding four goals [against Leicester] is a big eye-opener for us. Winning at home against Atalanta would be massive and a big boost."

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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