Antonio Conte would be open to discussing taking over at Manchester United if Ole Gunnar Solskjær is sacked, as it emerged on Monday that several players are questioning whether the Norwegian can take the team any further.
Several dressing-room sources have told the Guardian that Sunday’s 5-0 capitulation to Liverpool at Old Trafford has crystallised a lack of belief in Solskjær being a good enough manager for United. The 48-year-old is considered tactically underwhelming while being well-liked by the squad and within the wider club.
United are thought to be seriously considering Solskjær’s future after taking one point from their past four Premier League games. Joel Glazer, who heads the American family’s ownership, resides in Florida, five hours behind the UK, so any decision may be taken later on Monday.
Conte has not received any formal contact from the club. Although the Italian is reluctant to take up a position during a season he would make an exception for United because he considers the club a special opportunity. The 52-year-old would want to understand United’s vision before committing.
Conte has been out of work since leaving Internazionale in May, having signed off his two seasons there with the Serie A title, the fourth in Italy of his career. Conte also claimed the Premier League in his opening campaign at Chelsea in 2016-17 and the FA Cup the following year.
Solskjær said after the Liverpool game that United had hit “rock bottom” on what he described as his “darkest day” with the team but insisted he would not quit. “I do believe in myself, I do believe that I am getting close to what I want with the club,” he said.
“I have come too far, we have come too far as a group. We are too close to give up now. [True] the results lately haven’t been good enough, it’s hands up and that brings doubt in anyone’s mind probably, but I’ve got to keep strong and believe in what we’re doing.”