One imagines that when Manchester United Manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets annoyed with a performance, the style in which he addresses his players at half time is like having your ears gently cleansed with a wet and warm chamois leather. He appears far too nice to engage in the Ferguson style hairdryer, let alone participate in launching the odd tea cup or kicking a stray football boot.
When United were looking for their next manager in 2019, they had to think outside the box because there weren’t any more Ferguson’s in the game and probably never will be. Finally, they concluded that they needed the vastly inexperienced and rather virginal Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by way of a complete contrast and initially there was a bounce in their performance.
Since then, United have appeared rather uninspired and lacking any real depth of performance but according to Solskjaer, his side aren’t far off from challenging Liverpool and Manchester City. From what I’ve seen this season, United can make a fight of it against the likes of Watford or Norwich, but they are several galaxies away from being even close to the top two clubs in the premiership with their current squad.
The big problem is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to be in denial about what he has at his disposal. Jessie Lingard is a decent enough footballer but he’s not a genuine United player and similarly Marcus Rashford, who is the better of the two, is massively overrated.
There are also problems throughout the side and the lack of a top rated striker has just reduced the former Premier League champions to the role of a toothless tiger.
Then there’s the stench of football mercenary Paul Pogba, which has stunk out Old Trafford and despite Ole’s public admission of love and admiration for the player, Pogba will be gone in the summer
The reality is that whoever is in charge at United and I still doubt that will be Solskjaer, it will take around £200m plus to get United in a position where they can challenge again.
What’s just as troubling are the comments of Solskjaer which have often smacked of sour grapes. The Norwegian seemed aggrieved that his young side weren’t receiving sufficient praise for their 4-0 demolition of Norwich, the United boss said:
“Everyone raves about the FA Cup team that Liverpool beat Everton with. Our league team is a year younger on average so it’s got to be ups and downs.”
Yep, sounds like sour grapes to me !
In a further barbed comment, the United manager dismissed Liverpool’s recent success in the Champions League and in the league this season by saying that he didn’t expect:
“United to go 30 years without winning the title as Liverpool did.”
Solskjaer also seemed prickly about the suggestion that neighbours City were now ahead of United. Asked if he felt that United were still the bigger club, Solskjaer added some admirable bravado by stubbornly replying: “Yeah”, before eventually conceding that United needed to be determined in the transfer market.
United’s form has picked up but not enough to ignore the fact that Liverpool are 38 points in front of them at this stage of the season with a superior goal difference of plus 35. Hardly looking as if United are posing a threat anytime soon.