Saturday, July 2, 2022

Is Solskjaer turning things around at Manchester United?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 9 Dec 2019

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It is difficult to know what to make of Manchester United at the minute. A few weeks ago, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked out of his depth with his United future in question. However, the Red Devils have since pulled off two highly impressive 2-1 wins against Tottenham and of course last time out at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City in the derby.

Where are United at the minute?

I like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a person. He comes across as enthusiastic and he obviously loves United. His spell as interim boss made me, like many others, believe that the Norwegian could do the job on a permanent basis. I did think the United board were premature in giving him the full-time role though.

This season has been a rollercoaster, leading to question marks over his future as United boss. However, the last few performances have proven that Solskjaer can get the best out of the current group of players. Had the Red Devils played as they did in the last few games at the beginning of the season, then there would be very few people doubting Solskjaer’s future as boss.

The spectre of Pochettino hanging over him

The unconvincing start to the season and Mauricio Pochettino’s exit from Spurs have inevitably reignited the stories of the Argentinian becoming United boss in the near future. Unless Solskjaer continues to win games, that will be hanging over the Norwegian until Pochettino finds another job.

With the former Southampton boss in-demand, he may well join another club before United’s good run of form ends. On paper, Pochettino looks to be the perfect boss for Manchester United. He worked wonders at Tottenham on a small budget, albeit without actually winning any silverware.

The job he did in north London lead to Pochettino gaining a massive reputation in the world and European game. His managerial reputation is far greater than Solskjaer’s that’s for sure. In fact, the Norwegian has not got much of a reputation of note.

It almost feels like he is always just a few games away from a crisis and the sack with Pochettino still unemployed. The situation is simply that Solskjaer needs his team to keep winning games. I would imagine most Red Devils fans want him to succeed, as he is a club icon. If he keeps winning then there is no reason for him to leave.

Just outside the Champions League spots

United’s win at City last time out moved the Red Devils up to fifth-place in the table and just five points behind out of form Chelsea. If the Blues current poor run of form continues, it is not impossible that the Red Devils could finish in the top four, something that looked highly unlikely a few weeks ago.

United are still the sixth favourites to finish in the top-four at odds of 4/1. However, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial fit and firing, United may just do the unthinkable and nick a top-four spot.

Of course, so far Solskjaer’s full-time reign so far has taught us that they struggle to perform on a consistent basis. A home game this weekend against Everton has been made more the trickier by the Toffees interim appointment as head coach of one of their club icons in Duncan Ferguson.

The big Scot won his opening match 3-1 against Chelsea. The Merseysider’s should be a tougher prospect than they would have been than under Marco Silva. However, if Solskjaer wants to keep his job and the team wants to check progressing then those are the games United need to keep winning.

Is Solskjaer turning things around at Manchester United?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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