It’s been nearly three years since Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over at Manchester United as the manager, replacing Jose Mourinho in late 2018 as a caretaker before being appointed permanently in 2019. He has since taken the club to an Europa league final, four semifinals and sixth, third, and second finish on the logs.
Manchester United as it stands have gone four seasons without silverware, and even though the club finishing second on the log last season is an improvement, United were still miles behind neighbours Manchester City in terms of both points and quality of football.
Solskjaer has improved individual players — Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford as well as the collective dynamic of the team and has overseen three years of smart recruitment. He has dramatically changed the mood at Old Trafford, removing the toxicity of the José Mourinho era and reconnecting with the fan base.
But, the success of a managerial project is being measured by its tangible signs of progress, whilst United have become much more appealing to what it was under previous managers, a deeper look at the tactical aspects of Solskjaer’s reign suggests even with world class players at his disposal that going forward there is a ceiling he can inspire and I think it falls short of lifting the league title and afloat while challenging for a long period of time.
The Norwegian’s tenure as United manager hasn’t been without its positives, but so far this season the team’s attacking play seems to remain too reliant on individual players and the common consensus is that he doesn’t have a style of football, which by the way clearly either hasn’t been effective or doesn’t exist.
United lost embarrassingly 5-0 to Liverpool yesterday in a game their shape was brutally exposed, the team’s pressing game was below amateur and their defensive organisation was nonsystematic. Liverpool’s fans ironically chanted “Ole’s at the wheel” as United booed, while former manager and legend Sir Alex Ferguson was shaking his head in disbelief after Salah’s last goal. It was a scene that reminded everyone of Jose Mourinho’s last game in charge, a 3-1 loss at Anfield in December 2018.
United have given Solskjaer plenty of time, and transfer backing to go along with absolutely nothing to show for it. Things are going from bad to worse. The players seem to have lost their heads too, it doesn’t look like they trust their manager any more. I think it’s time to part ways. Zinedine Zidane and Erik ten Hag would be a good fit.