Ever since the 19th December 2018, most have been in agreement at what a
good job Ole Gunnar Solskjær was doing and that he should be given the
Manchester United job on a permanent basis. That was of course, until he actually
got that job. 28 th March 2019, he was confirmed as the permanent Manchester
United manager, and since then something weird has happened. From being an
excellent choice, suddenly Solskjær was a short-term solution from United and
people questioned why they would appoint someone with such a bare resume.
Excuse me if I missed the meeting when everyone decided to hate Ole, but none of
this makes sense to me.
The first reason that none of this criticism makes sense to me is the line about
his managerial pedigree. There seems to be a perception in this country that all of
the big clubs can only appoint somebody who has won forty Champions League
trophies and has never managed a game in which their team won by any less than
seven goals, for some people nobody can be good enough unless they already sit at
the top table of managers. To be blunt, this opinion is ridiculous. It comes from the same place that leads people to say that Pochettino has never won anything and therefore he is no good, whenever he is linked with a big job, like that means he hasn’t done a good job. When Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane got given the
Barcelona and Real Madrid jobs they were club legends as players who had
managed their respective B teams, but I don’t remember any public anguish when
they were appointed, if it’s good enough for those two then it is definitely good
enough for United.
These two lacked the pedigree of a top manager when they got the job and would prove themselves once they had their shot. In comparison to them, Solskjær has a good track record, with two Norwegian championships and a Norwegian cup to his name during his time with Molde, as well as multiple trophies as manager of the Manchester United reserves. There is no way to show your managerial talent without an opportunity and Ole has grabbed this one with both hands. His effectiveness at getting the most out of this crop of players has been plain to see and he has also showed impressive tactical flexibility when setting up his side for specific games. He might not be a big name yet but give him time with this Manchester United team and he could definitely become one.
The other criticism has been that this is a short-term solution for United, that
Ole will tie them over for now before they get a proper manager after next season. I have absolutely no idea where this has come from. As far as I can tell, people think that because Solskjær has had an instant impact at Old Trafford, that means he won’t be good long-term, no, I don’t get it either. If there’s one thing that we can take from Ole’s time at United, it is his ability to get the best out of players. Pogba and Rashford look like world beaters since he has come in, and players like Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling have gone from mistake-ridden liabilities to solid defenders, only Alexis Sanchez has been beyond his wizardry so far. These
improvements have been made with a squad he did not choose and in a very short
amount of time, think how good Phil Jones will be with a pre-season with Solskjær, he might actually be able to make a tackle.
United seem prepared to back the baby-faced assassin this summer, and if they can add quality like Gareth Bale to their ranks, then United could have a real run at the title in the next few seasons. There is absolutely no basis for the opinions that Solskjær will deteriorate long-term, but there is definitely something to be said for bringing a good feeling back to a club, it changes everything about the club and moves things in a different direction. In short, Ed Woodward would have been foolish (and don’t get me wrong, he definitely is anyway, but in this instance less so) not to give the Norwegian the job.