Manchester United are set to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if he loses to Norwich at the end of the month – unless he gets hammered by Liverpool first.
The under-fire Red Devils boss has been given a stay of execution during the international break.
But his fate will be decided once 12th-placed United have played Liverpool, Partizan Belgrade (in the Europa League) and the Canaries, report The Sun.
The club’s hierarchy understands the need for Solskjaer to be given time and to stick to their “plan”.
Defeat by Liverpool on October 20, although not ideal, is widely expected, and will not be the one that finishes Solskjaer off — as long as it’s not a complete capitulation.
United are instead looking at the trip to Carrow Road on Sunday October 27 as the acid test.
That result looks set to decide if they want to persist with the club legend, who was only appointed full-time boss in March, or start the search for their fifth manager in six years.
United have already lost this season to West Ham, Crystal Palace and the struggling Newcastle.
Defeat against a newly-promoted side might make supporters and the board believe that United are genuinely in a relegation fight, when they were tipped to be battling for a top-four place.
After a disappointing end to last season, pre-season actually went well, the players worked hard and Solskjaer developed a particular style.
On top of this, there has been mild success in the summer transfer window too, and all three new additions — Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire — have performed well.
The club has accepted that a rebuild is required but they’re realising along the way that the man leading the rebuild might not be suitable for the job, and six wins in all competitions since March under Solskjaer supports this.
Similar noises about Jose Mourinho’s time at United coming to an end began to be made around this time last year.
But Mourinho’s United came from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-2 and the inevitable was put back a few weeks.
He was sacked just before Christmas following a 3-1 defeat by Liverpool.
Solskjaer might get away with such a result in two weeks’ time… but probably not for long.