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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Was Thrown Under the Bus but his Sacking was Necessary

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, job, Manchester United manager

I was not surprised by the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Manchester United, rather I was surprised how long it took the board to realise Ole wasn’t the right man for the job. He had no proven track record or pedigree, just an obliging nature, an endless and admirable willingness to do his best for his former club and his obvious past association with the Red Devils.

However, it was clear that he wasn’t the right fit for such a massive job and a deceptive 2nd place finish during a pandemic season appeared to be enough to suggest to the dusty headed figures in the boardroom that the club were moving forward. They weren’t and haven’t been for a while, the previous season was an anomaly in the most unusual of circumstances, with a squad so far removed from the essence of the club that it’s unrecognisable from the Ferguson era.

It had dumbed itself down, settled for players far beneath its station and hired a series of managers who, with the exception of Moyes, were more interested in themselves. The job at Old Trafford is so big even Mourinho couldn’t find a cure, although one suspects that he may well have added to the problems with his inflated ego and belligerent attitude.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United
(Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was like a mascot, drafted in to remind United fans of better times, but essentially, he was way out of his depth the day he had his initials sewn on his tracksuit. From day one, he got a fractured dressing room of inferior personnel only interested in their own status at one of the biggest clubs in the world and it was typical that they hid deep in the shadows as each manager fell on their sword.

There was no real mixture of class, grafters and fighters, just a collection of ordinary players to which they added the odd dash of class and colour. Ronaldo, Fernandes and Van de Beek are a league above the collection of underachieving misfits which include De Gea, Shaw, Maguire, Bissaka, Jones, McTominay and Fred.

The Norwegian faced the firing squad, but to be honest, the majority of the United players should have either stood in front of him or behind him to catch a well deserved stray bullet. Each week, a procession of players took to SM to say sorry for another limp and inept performance which is about as useful as a VAR referee.

Yet, when it came to dishing out the blame, De Gea wasted no time opening the trap door to hang his manager. De Gea told the BBC after the Watford game:

“It was embarrassing, the way we played today,”
“The first half was very poor – it’s not acceptable for this club and the level of players that we have. It’s another nightmare.”
“There’s been some difficulties but I don’t really know what to say. I have been in difficult moments with this club but we are in a difficult situation – we don’t know what to do with the ball, we are conceding a lot of goals. It’s a horrible moment.”

He probably realised at that point that he had made a massive contribution to Solskjaer’s inevitable exit and suddenly softened his approach:

“It’s easy to say the manager and staff but the ones who are on the pitch are the players and they’re the ones who have to score goals and fight on the pitch.”

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At that point, the comment – “We don’t know what to do with the ball, we are conceding a lot of goals” – sounded fatal and the news that the United board were holding an emergency meeting was met with zero surprises.

The Norwegian is gone, but this mess is not entirely his fault, the players need to look themselves in the mirror, the board need to examine their decisions at every level and now, the job of clearing this mess falls on the new manager, Ralf Rangnick. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a decent man, United are a massive club, both deserved better, but all the while, the players still took the money.

Follow AD to know more about Manchester United.

The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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