Why Manchester United Must Stick With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The odds on Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surviving past Christmas are shortening by the week, and a defeat at home to Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday evening will only increase the pressure on the former Cardiff City manager.
United’s record since that famous victory in the Champions League against Paris-Saint Germain last February is abysmal, and if the board had waited until the summer to appoint a manger instead of what looks like a hasty decision in March, then Solskjaer probably wouldn’t have got the job.
That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be given time and there are some positives signs despite all the doom and gloom.
|Man Utd Manager Specials||Odds|
|Solskjaer Next EPL Manager Sacked||6/1 (+600)|
|Pochettino Next Man Utd Boss||3/1 (+300)|
Managerial sackings don’t always work
At what point does the board say that “enough is enough” and accept that they need to see the project through with the existing man in charge?
For Solskjaer to really have a chance of imposing his style, he probably needs another two summer transfer windows, but as we know, the one thing a manager rarely gets these days, is time.
We’ve seen the “chosen one” in David Moyes, the “experienced one” in Louis van Gaal and the “special one” in Jose Mourinho, and they’ve all struggled before the Norwegian.
United fans are patient, and Solskjaer is a club legend, which means he’ll receive even more support than ever before.
Positive summer signings
United have made several expensive mistakes in the transfer market since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club, at a cost of several hundred million pounds.
But, the three signings Solskjaer made in the summer have all settled in well and have been United’s most impressive performers.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have slotted in well into the back four and should help to provide a more solid unit alongside Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw over the coming months.
Dan James, the other summer acquisition, already looks like the bargain of the window and without his finishing already this campaign, United might be sitting in a far worse position.
Patience with youth
Solskjaer has stuck to his word and placed his faith in the youngsters. Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Axel Tuanzebe have all had minutes, while Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, two other academy graduates, have started every Premier League game this season so far.
Would another manager have the patience and be prepared to put so much faith and ‘risk’ in them?
Such is the pressure on managers these days that they often opt for more established and experienced players instead of youngsters who perhaps have more energy but are inconsistent and prone to errors.
If another manager was in charge, some of the youngsters mentioned might not have featured at all.
Lack of other managerial options
It’s all very well saying Solskjaer should be sacked, but if he was to leave the club, who would come in as his replacement?
One name that’s consistently associated with United is Mauricio Pochettino, but he has a better squad at his disposal at Tottenham Hotspur and may see United as a step backwards at this stage of his career. He’s also quite possibly got one eye on events at Real Madrid.
|Next Man Utd Manager?||Best Odds|
|Massimiliano Allegri||9/2 (+450)|
|Michael Carrick||10/1 (+1000)|
|Erik ten Hag||12/1 (+1200)|
|Arsene Wenger||14/1 (+1400)|
|Laurent Blanc||20/1 (+2000)|
Then there’s former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri who is out of work and was heavily linked with a move to United last week in Italy. Would he honestly be prepared to put his reputation on the line at a club that requires a complete rebuild?
He too might be a candidate for Real Madrid when Zinedine Zidane leaves, but there could be more appealing vacancies in Paris, London and who knows, perhaps even the blue half of Manchester if Pep Guardiola wins the Champions League this season and then walks.
Laurent Blanc is another name that’s been mentioned but hasn’t managed a side since Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, and while he “gets” the club, would he be the answer?
The results point to a turbulent time at Old Trafford, but it took Jurgen Klopp and even Pep Guardiola time to build their squads into trophy challenging ones.
Solskjaer might not have the same managerial record but whoever is in charge of the rebuild will require time. You know that if it’s Solskjaer, he’ll try to do it by staying loyal to the great traditions of the club.