Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced much criticism as manager of Manchester United, and with good reason. Since his appointment as permanent manager, United have won only ten of their 29 league games, earning just 39 of a possible 87 points. In a Premier League table starting when Solskjaer’s permanent appointment came, United would be eighth, and very far away from any European football. Despite these dismal stats, there are also positives from the Norwegian’s reign. As bad as these stats may seem, the positives do outweigh the negatives. This is why Solskjaer is the man for the job at United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the Man for the Job at United
While things may not look good at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there are many positives. Many United fans have been calling for Solskjaer to leave since early on in his reign, and Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking from Tottenham Hotspur gave them a boost. Solskjaer’s leaving could prove useless, however, but his staying could help the club incredibly.
Failure of Other Managers
Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, there have been four Manchester United managers. None of these have filled the Scot’s boots particularly well, despite having had tremendous success at other clubs.
David Moyes is Everton’s most successful manager in their recent history. In the five seasons from 2005/06 to 2009/10, David Moyes took Everton to four UEFA Cups (Changed its name to Europa League in 2009). They managed to reach the round of 16 in 2007/08 and only lost to Fiorentina on penalties. David Moyes’ Everton even qualified for Champions League qualification, however, they failed to qualify due to tough competition in Villarreal.
When he came to United, there were not many high hopes, and if there were any, he certainly did not live up to them. Moyes took United to a seventh-place finish and was sacked before the season was over.
Louis Van Gaal
Following an impressive World Cup campaign with the Netherlands, Louis Van Gaal succeeded David Moyes at Manchester United. With experience managing teams such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he seemed like a good choice. He, however, arrived in Manchester much to the dismay of many United fan. This was because his defensive style of play did not match the historic attacking nature of Manchester United. Van Gaal guided the Red Devils to a fourth-place finish in his first season. Getting United Champions League football earned him another season there. His second and final season saw United finish fifth, and miss out on the most prestigious club competition in Europe. This did not impress the board, and they sacked him. The second sacking since Ferguson’s retirement left the managerial position once again open at Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho became Manchester United manager in the summer of 2016. This came half a year after being sacked by Chelsea due to a dismal first half of the 2015/16 season there. Manchester United fans were once again unhappy with the choice of manager, however, Jose Mourinho promised to play attacking football while manager there.
In his first season at United, the self-proclaimed “Special One” came sixth in the league, however, being victors in the Europa League helped with the board backing him into his second season. That faith was repaid as united finished second in Mourinho’s second season.
The Portuguese’s third season curse kicked in again at Manchester United, however, and he lost his job midway through the 2018/19 season, making way for current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. All of these well-renowned managers have failed at Manchester United. This shows that maybe, Solskjaer is the man for the job at United.
Lacking Board Backing
If there is one campaign Manchester United fans support more than Ole out, it’s getting rid of the Glazers and Ed Woodward. All of United’s post-Sir Alex Ferguson managers have one thing in common. They did not land many of their top transfer targets. It is very improbable that it was due to a lack of money. Manchester United is one of the biggest, richest clubs in the world, so they could almost certainly afford at least some of the managers’ top targets.
For example, during his last transfer window at the club, Jose Mourinho was desperate to sign a centre back. Harry Maguire and Toby Alderweireld were his top targets. However, Woodward has admitted to denying the Portuguese one or two transfers. This has been the story for many of the aforementioned managers.
David Moyes only made one transfer in his inaugural window in Manchester. This was Marouane Fellaini at the final hour. The former Everton boss was another manager who missed out on many of his first choice transfers. Moyes, unlike Mourinho, wanted attackers. Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale were some of the high profile names on Moyes’ wishlist. It doesn’t seem likely that all of these deals, plus the many more Moyes wanted to complete, fell through due to a lack of funds or attractiveness from the club. It is probable that just like with Mourinho, the Manchester United board blocked David Moyes’ wanted transfers.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Many Beneficial Traits
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis at Manchester United largely based on his success as caretaker boss. The Norwegian led United to just one loss in his 14 league games in the role of caretaker manager. After his permanent appointment, he has looked a little shaky, but the new manager boost has to wear off at some point.
As a former Manchester United player during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows the club. He also knows how United worked under the Scot and can use this to guide his decisions. This sets him apart from all the other post-Sir Alex managers. His attacking mindset. This is yet another reason why Solskjaer is the man for the job at United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made many a great tactical decision in his short time at Manchester United. One of these came in their league win at the Etihad. Manchester City can be deadly with an incredible amount of quality going forward. The pace of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero being so clinical, and Kevin De Bruyne’s incredible creativity is so difficult to counter. Counter, however, is exactly what United did. Manchester United set up to absorb City’s pressure, and they did this incredibly well. Aaron Wan-Bissaka kept Sterling in his pocket, and the centre backs made sure Aguero was very quiet. The Reds caught The Sky Blues on the break with two goals before half time. This is just one of many good tactical choice’s Solskjaer has made.
Success in the Transfer Window
Unlike the three post-Ferguson managers before him, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s signings have all been successful.
Daniel James cost Manchester United just £15 million. That is an incredible bargain considering he makes regular first-team appearances for United, and his blistering pace splits apart so many Premier League defences.
Harry Maguire, a long-time Manchester United transfer target, has also played well since moving to Old Trafford. Despite United not having kept many clean sheets this season, Maguire has shone making many wonderful tackles saving many goals for United.
Probably their most successful summer signing, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been one of United’s best players this season. He is arguably the best full-back in the premier league. Nicknamed the Spider, Wan-Bissaka is extremely difficult to get past, as proven in many of United’s games such as their 2-1 away victory at bitter rivals Manchester City. He has come up against some of the best wingers in the world and kept them quiet, showing his incredible talent.
Getting the Best out of Players
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to get the best out of many young Manchester United players. Marcus Rashford is currently having the best season of his life, with 18 direct goal involvements in the league this season. Under Mourinho, Rashford was quiet and looked contained, but since Solskjaer’s appointment, he has been free and very creative, as well as clinical.
Mason Greenwood is another young player who has started to play well under Solskjaer. The 18-year-old has four Premier League goals in just three starts this season. That is very impressive, especially considering his Premier League debut came towards the end of last season.
Brandon Williams is yet another player who has benefited under Solskjaer. The 19-year-old fullback was only promoted to the senior team in the summer of 2019, but already has his first goal and seven Premier League appearances.
Will He Stay?
The Manchester United board have committed a three-year plan involving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer staying for the full three years at least. This is in a hope to rebuild the Manchester United team as opposed to just switching between managers. Unless something drastically changes, it seems that Solskjaer will be managing United at least until 2022. Despite the opinions of many Manchester United fans, that is seemingly a good thing, and will surely end up being beneficial for the Manchester side.