Manchester United’s torrid start to the season leaves them lingering two points above the relegation zone. There was an air of optimism surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after succeeding Jose Mourinho. However, this has all but dissipated and he is now under fire as the pressure mounts.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Should Not be Facing the Sack
Solskjaer has come under immense pressure due to a perceived lack of progress. After a woeful start to the season, there is a growing number of fans that believe Solskjaer should be sacked.
Solskjaer has been open in his approach, often stating that the progress will not happen overnight. Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have both rallied to the manager’s side. The former United players believe Solskjaer needs more time. Neville told Sky Sports: “He is sweeping up a mess that was created before him and he is being put under pressure because of that”. The youthful United squad is indeed a different direction and Solskjaer will continue to build around it if given the time.
Solskjaer did initially receive praise for removing ‘deadwood’ from the club. However, it is now painfully obvious Solskjaer’s team is in desperate need of replacements. The Norweigan’s tactics have also been questioned. Paul Ince went as far as claiming Solskjaer hasn’t done enough in his career to justify being the Manchester United manager.
However, during an injury crisis, there are not many changes that he can make with his depleted squad. So, it feels rather harsh to lay the blame at the door of the manager. Also, Solsjkaer had initially looked to revive United, winning 14 out of his first 17 games with only one defeat. The question remains whether Solskjaer is the right man for the job. Although, a poor transfer history has left the United squad misshapen and lacking depth so the struggling form may not be caused by poor management alone.
Has Ed Woodward Hung Another Manager Out to Dry?
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, the face of the hierarchy of United, once again finds himself under the spotlight. Woodward has become a valuable financial asset to the club after revolutionising the ways that United make money, increasing their revenue as a result.
Unfortunately for United, the footballing side hasn’t followed the same trajectory as the finances. For all Woodward’s financial success, his reign has been littered with transfer howlers, a lack of trophies, and expensive payouts to managers. Gary Neville has been vocal in recent interviews, criticising the hiring-firing nature of the board. With the former player laying the blame squarely at the feet of Woodward and the Glazers.
Sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Not the Answer
Woodward has overseen the appointment of four permanent managers and the removal of three. The three managers that left the club all did so in ridiculous circumstances. David Moyes left just ten months into a six-year contract. Replacing Moyes was Louis van Gaal, an outspoken, experienced manager. After spending two years with, United van Gaal was quickly ushered out of the door to make room for the special one, Jose Mourinho. Mourinho was somewhat successful at United but, as the form dipped, Woodward made another bold move to sack Mourinho. The sacking, in hindsight, seems harsh.
Therefore, it would be damning for him to sack the most recent appointment in his first full season, and what would Manchester United gain in sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? The managerial job is now the biggest poisoned chalice in football, meaning it would be difficult to find a willing manager. Woodward would also be culpable for yet another managerial mistake. Although, in reality, the Glazer family will want to keep their money-maestro just where he is. Therefore, it is likely Ed Woodward will outlast another manager, thus continuing the managerial-merry-go-round that he has created.