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Ancelotti sympathises with Solskjaer - but denies it’s a good time to face Manchester United

The pressure is on the United boss going into Saturday’s clash at Goodison Park

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-MAN UTD Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti says he sympathises with under-pressure Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - but denies it is a good time to face the Red Devils.

Solskjaer has seen his position put under scrutiny after a poor start to the season that has seen them lose three of their opening six Premier League matches to slump down to 15th in the table.

That pressure was ratcheted up still further in midweek following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

That led to speculation Solskjaer could be sacked should the Red Devils fall to another a defeat on Saturday, his cause perhaps not helped by Mauricio Pochettino’s appearance on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football and reports United have approached the former Spurs boss about potentially taking over at Old Trafford.

Ancelotti was asked about Solskjaer’s plight during his match preview news conference on Friday, with the Italian speaking from experience when he said he empathised with the Norwegian’s plight.

He did, however, play down the suggestion that Everton were playing United at a good time:

“In general I have sympathy for all managers. I can say that when things are not good, there is only one responsible. Every manager is under pressure, I can say the pressure that we have is a privilege. We have to analyse ourselves with a cold mind.

“It is a great opportunity to forget these two defeats and to stay at the top of the table. It is difficult because Manchester United are a strong team but we want to take this opportunity.

“It is never a good moment to play United because they are strong team with experience and quality. It is true they have been up and down but some games they played really. We have to expect a team with a strong motivation.

“We know Manchester United is a strong team, but we want to take this opportunity.

“We prepared the game as usual, trying to find some weakness that they have, that every team in the world has. We are sure that tomorrow will be a difficult game because they have all the qualities a team needs. Creativity power, organisation.”

Ancelotti was also asked about Everton’s defensive issues, with the Toffees without a clean sheet since their first two games of the campaign against Tottenham and Salford, conceding two goals in each of their last four matches.

The Toffees boss added:

“In this moment it is too far until the end of the season. We have to move on from these two defeats that weren’t good to show fighting spirit and then we will see after.

“We are working on this, we only had one clean sheet in the first game against Tottenham. We have to defend better, I totally agree and I told the players we have to defend better. We have to improve there.

“If you keep clean sheets, the worst is a draw! I want to keep things simple, a clean sheet is an important step to try to win the game.”