Home » Manchester United board need to end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign

Manchester United board need to end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign

by Scott Eckersley

Does anyone still believe that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the man to return the glory days to Manchester United?

Success for the club has been a formless shape on the horizon since he took the job two and a half years ago. ‘It’s coming…’, fans were assured. The patience of the true believer will be rewarded.

Well, fans have kept their eyes fixed upon that point in the future. They’ve been patient and, having been repeatedly assured that the Norwegian was the right man to oversee the rebuild, have remained warily trusting in ‘the process’.

‘He gets the club’, they were told. ‘He just needs a centre-back. And a right back. And another centre back. And a right winger. A very particular right winger.’

Some fans have been content to coast on the good vibes and slow upward trajectory. Match-goers have been resolute in their support. Chastened by a grim Post-Fergie decade, expectations couldn’t have been much lower.

By and large, Solskjaer seems to have been given everything he wanted. This summer he was lavishly showered in genuine quality. The lack of investment in a midfielder is the one area in which the club’s hierarchy failed him.

The most telling case in point is surely this: for the last couple of years, United have chased Jadon Sancho so doggedly that the then-Dortmund ace started to resemble the holy grail. They finally snared him in the summer. The missing piece of the attacking jigsaw had arrived.

And yet, by late-October, Solskjaer seemed to have ripped up his plans for the England ace. The Liverpool calamity appears to have prompted a regression into self-preservation. There’s no clear role for the £75m man in the current set up.

The only method (if you can call it a method) seems to be the hope of stumbling upon a formula that keeps the manager at the helm.

Not that the early promise of 3-5-2 seems to be the long-term solution. Since a good win against a poor Spurs, the formation has seen the Reds nick an unconvincing point against Atalanta and then be completely outclassed in yesterday’s Manchester derby.

City coasted to victory in one of the most one-sided contests in living memory. The sight of the classy blues toying with a hapless and inert home side was arguably as depressing for fans as the recent Scouse hammering.

The current Sancho situation might then be seen as conclusive proof that there is no overarching scheme. He was bought for a role that has already become obsolete. The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

Much was made of United shaking off caution to become a front foot team. With the enviable galaxy of talents at his disposal, Solskjaer had the tools to make the big next step.

Instead we’ve got a manager who seems so overawed by the scale of the task that he’s started throwing ideas at the wall in the hope something sticks.

So where’s the disconnect?

Are Solskjaer’s coaches to blame for failing to implement his ideas? Are his ideas too basic to succeed at the top level? Are the players losing faith in his methods and slowly downing tools?

Maybe it’s all of the above?

As was the case with Solskjaer’s predecessors, it feels like everyone other than the people who count – United’s board – knows that this isn’t going to work. The writing has been on the wall for most of the current campaign.

The fans are turning, the players look lost and unsure of themselves and Solskjaer’s sad eyes seem to plead for a mercy killing in each desperate post-match interview.

Antonio Conte has been passed up. Zinedine Zidane is thought not to be interested in the job and a mini-crisis is being allowed to engulf a season that promised so much.

United’s board needs to forget about nostalgia and goodwill. They’re the ones who need to be ripping up the plan and starting again.

There’s no coming back from this.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will always be a United great. He’ll be forever remembered as the scorer of the club’s most historic goal. His legend is established.

And there’s no shame in not becoming a top manager. Hardly any players make the transition. It takes something special, something Solskjaer lacks, to be bracketed with likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

So let’s see it for what it was – a long shot that fell at the final hurdle. Put him and the fan base out of their misery and find someone who can make World Class players play like World Class players.

It’s not too late to salvage something from this season, but every day of indecision makes it less likely.

Latest Top Stories...