Filling the shoes of someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, who is arguably one of the best managers to ever lead a team, was never going to be an easy feat. a few have tried, but none have reached the heights that Fergie once did.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and even Ryan Giggs for a time have all attempted to make the Red Devils the kings of Europe again, before Ole took the wheel. But is he the right choice? Or should United try again?
United have been on a bit of a rollercoaster since Ole took charge. There have been times where their performances have been incredible, unstoppable, a team that can challenge for any trophy and have no problem winning it.
On the other side of the spectrum though, and more commonly, they have been boring, predictable, either getting wins out of sheer luck or somehow snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory on too many occasions. They aren’t the team you’d put your money on to win every single game.
This isn’t the United that were dominating the Premier League back in the days of Fergie, Giggs, Scholes and Ferdinand. This is a United that has either lost that flare, or is going through a rebuilding phase that isn’t being helped by injury after injury and a very questionable transfer strategy.
One of the things that Ole had going for him is his history with the club. It’s always great when a club legend returns to take over their club. The fans love it, the team has a burst of energy, and the overall feeling of the club changes.
This was seen when Ole took over as interim manager. There was a buzz around the ground, the players responded fairly well, and things were looking up. Ole as the permanent manager, however, has seen things be topsy turvy.
This plays into a con of having him at the helm. Ole can’t seem to get the passion into his players, he can’t seem to garner the respect that is needed for them to walk out onto the field with the passion and drive to succeed.
His very calm disposition also seems to go against him in post-match interviews. Ole is a calm, collected guy, and when he isn’t animated after a loss, fans seem to misconstrue this as not caring or not having the same passion as someone like Jose Mourinho, Pep, or Jurgen Klopp would have.
This calm demeanour seems to be a problem in the locker room as well. You would be hard pressed to think he is incredibly tough on his players, you can’t imagine him walking into that dressing and giving his players the classic Alex Ferguson hairdryer treatment.
Ole also doesn’t always use the best tactics. Yes, the team is littered with incredible players that obviously know how to play and win, but the manager is the one at the reigns, he is the one that needs to direct them. Ole has been struggling to find his feet in that department.
A positive though is that, on the surface at least, he has a good relationship with his players. He doesn’t come across as a dictator and he shows them the respect they deserve, as well as giving them praise when they have earned it.
He has also placed a lot of trust in young players. Many other teams would want to put their best players on the field each week, with the youngsters on the bench. Ole has gone the other direction, and not only does he choose them regularly, they put 100% into the game and play like they are seasoned veterans (Mason Greenwood being a prime example).
Another con of letting Ole go, is the need to have another rebuild. Man United have been struggling with this already, and bringing in another manager, with a different mindset and style could very easily be the kiss of death and end up sinking their season.
This is a two-edged sword though. Keeping Ole keeps the stability, but bringing in someone new, someone more experienced, may actually lift the team. Mauricio Pochettino is currently a free agent, and has been linked, to some degree, to the position every day since he left Spurs.
Once again though, this may be a change that Man United only want to make at the end of the season. Ole clearly has the backing of the board, with the main goal obviously being a top 4 finish.
Top 4 may also be what makes or breaks Ole. Make the top 4, and he will most likely be trusted with the team for another season, miss out, and that would be the end of the “Ole’s at the Wheel” era.
Whether you love him or hate him, Ole will most likely see out the end of this season. United will need him to get Champions League football, and by the looks of it, United’s board believes Ole is the man to do it. In the end though, the question of should Man United keep him, will only be answered on the last day of the league, when the last game is over, and United’s fate in Europe has been decided.