Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer smiled and waved for the cameras while arriving for training on Tuesday, as he was spotted for the first time since handing his players a surprise week off.
As previously reported by Sportsmail, the under-fire boss made the unexpected move to give players not on international duty and backroom staff an extended break following defeat in the Manchester derby.
A large number of United’s first team jetted out on international duty in the aftermath of the 2-0 loss, however.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pictured returning to Manchester United’s training ground on Tuesday after giving his players a surprise week off following series of calamitous results
Meanwhile, the Red Devils boss also hopped on a plane as he flew back home to Norway with his family to escape the noise surrounding his future at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian’s job is hanging by a thread as he faces increasing pressure and with his future at the club coming into question following a series of calamitous performances.
Before the international break, United were booed off at half-time by their own fans during a 5-0 mauling at the hands of bitter rivals which was followed by derby day embarrassment as they suffered a humiliating defeat to Manchester City two weeks later.
Solskjaer (centre) has come under increasing pressure at the club following a disastrous 5-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool and further humiliation in the Manchester derby
But Solskjaer was pictured arriving at United’s training ground, Carrington, on Tuesday following his impromptu break, as he began preparations for the Premier League’s return at the weekend.
The United boss could be seen waving at the cameras and sporting a weary smile ahead of his side’s clash against Watford on Saturday.
Members of the first team who were not called up for international duty had been spotted reporting for duty on Monday.
The United boss was pictured waving at the cameras and smiling as he arrived at Carrington
Midfielder Scott McTominay was one of the players to arrive on Monday morning. He was ruled out of Scotland’s recent internationals due to a throat virus.
Outcast Donny van de Beek arrived, too, having once again missed out on Holland’s squad as a result of his lack of minutes at United.
While Alex Telles and Dean Henderson, who have also barely featured under Solskjaer this term, drove into the complex too.
MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYERS NOT ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY
Goalkeepers: Lee Grant, Tom Heaton, Dean Henderson
Defenders: Raphael Varane, Phil Jones, Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Midfielders: Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek
Forwards: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho
It was unclear if Solskjaer joined his players on Monday but he arrived promptly this morning with United’s next make-or-break clash on the horizon.
Last week, Raphael Varane arrived at United’s headquarters for treatment on his hamstring injury, while Marcus Rashford was also due in to train.
Aside from their appearances, Solskjaer and his charges have not been spotted since the chastening loss at Old Trafford until this week.
The manager was pictured at Manchester Airport with his wife Silje and sons Noah and Elijah before they left last week.
It is believed the 48-year-old headed back to his hometown of Kristiansund in Norway.
Despite United’s insipid performances, the club were quick to indicate that Solskjaer would be in charge for their trip to Watford.
Solskjaer escaped the noise surrounding his future as he jetted home to Norway last week
United’s recent defeats have led Bruno Fernandes (centre) to become frustrated at the club
It was a Manch derby to forget for United at Old Trafford – which is no longer a fortress
He has often handed players a long breather during the first week of international breaks, but the decision to hand them all seven days off this time raised eyebrows.
The rest of his squad will return this week. Harry Maguire, for example, finished his commitments with England after scoring the Three Lions’ opening goal during their 10-0 victory in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Monday.
But Cristiano Ronaldo will be returning to Old Trafford in bitter disappointment after Portugal blew automatic qualification in a dramatic 2-1 loss to Serbia.
Harry Maguire (centre) opened the scoring as England stormed to a 10-0 win over San Marino
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) appeared to fume at Portugal boss Fernando Santos (right) after their defeat by Serbia
The forward was seen fuming at Portugal boss Fernando Santos following the match as the Euro 2016 champions will now have to face the play-offs to make it to Qatar.
Speaking ahead of the current stoppage, Solskjaer admitted that it may have ‘come at a good time’ for his stars, who are reeling from a run of six losses in 12 games.
‘We are human beings and when you lose a game of football there is no better feeling than winning a game,’ he said.
‘Hopefully the ones that go away do that and for us, it is all about Watford. We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal.
‘The short answer is it has come at a good time for us. As a group we have had a difficult spell, we have come through it but this was a big step backwards.’