Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a man under pressure at Manchester United after back-to-back defeats. BenchWarmers’ Jamie Wilkinson asks WHY the club have persevered with a clearly inept manager.
Manchester United is no longer a great football team – it’s a great football club. The team itself has become too much of an enigma under Solskjaer’s stewardship to rank them among the best on the planet.
The Red Devils had a half-hearted attempt at challenging rivals Man City for the Premier League crown last term, but few envisaged them actually overthrowing the eventual champions to go on and win it themselves.
United boast an extraordinary unbeaten away record in England’s top tier, one which provided the foundation of their ‘success’ last term, but one which was also threatened virtually every time they played away from Old Trafford.
Man United rediscovered their ability to stare into the eyes of hardship and laugh, coming from behind on countless occasions to bring all three points home with them, while riding their luck in the process.
You have to ask the question, though, how many of those points won were won through the intelligent mid-game strateigising of their manager? Few, in my eyes. Solskjaer was bailed out by the individual brilliance of his squad.
The cracks are already beginning to show this season, the season which was dubbed THEIR season, with United having suffered back-to-back defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa… on their home turf.
Solskjaer was treated by the club’s hierarchy with the arrivals of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, yet he still only appears capable of playing heroball. There’s no clear approach, direction, tactics.
In wake of the aforementioned defeats, Man United fans have called into question the competency of their manager. They didn’t need much encouragement to turn their backs.
The question needs to be asked, why have Man United headed into a season with world-class personnel but a manager that nobody thinks is actually any good?
Solskjaer’s former Man United colleagues will defend him to the end of the Earth on the tele, but are they actually convinced that he’s the right man to bring the club back to their glory days?
Would anyone rank Solskjaer among the top 15, 20, 30 managers in the world? If not, why has he been allowed to hold the reins as one of the biggest clubs in the world looks to challenge on all fronts, both domestically and in Europe?
The post-Fergie chopping and changing of the managerial team did Man United no favours, but it’s equally damaging for the club’s hierarchy to have thrown their backing behind the most inept Red Devils boss in recent memory.
Solskjaer has very limited managerial credentials beyond what he has achieved with United, with his initial appointment as interim merely a way for the club to steady the ship and put a familiar face in charge to appease the fans.
At this point in time, though, Man United do not need a manager to tell his players “come on lads, we’re Man United” in hope of inspiring a reaction, they need a man in charge with some practical intelligence.
The excuses have worn thin, the fans have grown tired and while nobody likes to see a manager dismissed, Solskjaer is incredibly out of his depth in the position he finds himself in.
Frank Lampard’s lack of experience ultimately cost him at Chelsea, who replaced him with a world-class manager in Thomas Tuchel and won the Champions League when a few months prior it seemed impossible.
Man United can absolutely replicate that success with Antonio Conte free and available, but in order to do so it’ll take those pulling the strings to show some cojones and do what’s necessary to restore the club to its former glory.