Chris Smalling believes that handing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the managerial reins on a permanent basis should be a ‘no-brainer’ for the Manchester United board.
Solskjaer has been a revelation since the club appointed him as interim boss in place of the sacked Jose Mourinho. He has lifted the spirits of everyone at the club and the impact he has made is nothing short of miraculous. United were languishing 6th when he arrived, and were 11 points behind 5th placed Arsenal. In just two months, they made up the deficit and have now jumped into 4th. He led the side on a 10-game unbeaten streak before it was eventually brought to an end by Paris Saint-Germain.
Everything around the club looks completely different to how it did just two months ago. Solskjaer’s arrival has impacted a number of key players too, like Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. Smalling has struggled with injuries this season, and has been in and out of the side. Even then, the difference the manager has made is there for all to see. The defender, who recently signed a new five-year deal, was quick to praise Solskjaer and call it an obvious choice to make him the permanent manager. Speaking to The Times, he said:
“Considering how we are playing since Ole’s been in, it would be a no-brainer if he was given the job [long-term].
“We’d definitely be happy. But we just need to play our games.
“Ole said one of the main reasons he was able to come back was because of his connection to the club.
“He’s seen it through everything. I definitely see what we had with Sir Alex [Ferguson] through Ole.
Smalling also opened up about what Solskjaer’s main priority was on arrival. He admitted to players being bereft of confidence under Mourinho.
“He came in with, really, the one target of bringing belief back into players,” he added.
“We were going through a tough patch [under Mourinho]. Confidence had dipped.
“He wanted to put an arm round some players, and just go, ‘You’re good players, there’s a reason Manchester United bought you, I’m backing you, go and flourish’.”
It is fair to say that Ole has already accomplished his primary task. The question remains as to whether he can keep this up though. If he does, then he will definitely have a shot at getting the job permanently.