There has been massive media reports and reactions to the recent performances of Manchester United and the clamour for it’s temporary Manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, to take the reigns at this stage of the season. Gary Lineker, recently took to Twitter, to refer to the Norwegian as a genius for his substitutions, which was staggeringly over the top.
Solskjær’s a master-coach. What a substitution.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 2, 2019
So, let’s try to get some perspective by applauding what has Solskjær achieved thus far but also by measuring what it all means in the big scheme of things. Yes, they have performed well recently and Solskjær has managed to get the feel good factor back at Old Trafford, extracting performances out of browbeaten players, such as Paul Pogba but let’s add an element of scepticism.
United have rolled over Newcastle, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth but come on, did anyone really expect anything else ? The immediate introduction of a Solskjær, has an uplifting effect on players but is it truly sustainable over the course of a season ?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is 48% of the way there to matching Jose Mourinho's Man United goal tally in the PL this season. In 4 games.
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) January 3, 2019
Well, my initial thoughts are, that on this form, United are looking a reasonable bet to push for a top four finish, along with Arsenal and Chelsea, who have a host of problems with consistency and personnel. However, United’s progress will be judged on their ability to compete with the premier leagues elite, mainly Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester City, who are breaking away from the crowd.
Recent results, although pleasing for any United fan, are hardly a statement that United are anywhere near their best. They still have to fit players into a system that was overcrowded and broken, with hugely talented players and limited spaces.
It’s said that Sir Alex Ferguson is overseeing the transition and that in itself, is enough to get results because of his legendary status. If only they could find some sort of serum or way to turn the clock back, for the Scot to become 20 years younger, who wouldn’t relish the mind games against Guardiola and Klopp. Add a former club legend like Solskjær and the contribution of Mike Phelan who is back to assist and United’s resurgence was almost expected.
United still have a fight on their hands to get anywhere near Liverpool and City but at least the style of football is more akin to its glorious past and less like the Mourinho version of football by numbers, which induced visual fatigue.
Is it starting to make sense now why Ed Woodward appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker whilst his first choice target for the next permanent manager is Pochettino. pic.twitter.com/Y2W0WafLcP
— WAllegri_SZN (@WhyAlwaysLukaku) January 5, 2019
Manchester United have been significant to English football and the premier league and are one of few clubs that can compete financially with anyone you care to mention. It’s good to see Solskjær back in the premier league but even with a good run of performances and a top four finish, few will doubt that he is the man to lead United to Champions league glory.
That area of expertise remains the domain of special individuals, like that of the man in the background, the legend in the shadows, Sir Alex Ferguson.