Jose Mourinho was sacked as head coach of Manchester United after leading the club to a 3-1 loss to Liverpool on the 16th of December 2018 which left them 11 points adrift of the Top Four.
Subsequently, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was appointed as interim manager till the end of the season. Solksjaer’s appointment was well received by the _Old Trafford_ faithful who regard him as a club legend having spent eleven years at the club, a period in which he won six premier league titles, 2 FA cups, and a Uefa Champions league title. He also scored 126 goals for the club in 366 appearances with his most memorable goal being the injury-time winner against Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final at Camp Nou.
After Ole’s retirement from football in 2007, he was appointed by Sir Alex Ferguson as a strikers’ coach at United. Solksjaer later joined Norwegian club Molde FK Where he guided them to a first league title in their history. He had a short stint at Cardiff City in the premier league where he was sacked after just nine months during which the club got relegated. He returned to his former club, Molde, where United appointed him as the next Manchester United manager to replace Mourinho.
The-baby-faced-assassin – as he is being fondly called- brought a calm demeanour and serenity to a club reeling in chaos during Mourinho’s troubled era.
Fourteen wins in his first nineteen games – which included a famous 2-0 comeback victory against PSG in the Champions league – persuaded the Red Devils to appoint the 46-year-old on a permanent basis, handing him a three-year contract.
This decision, instead of propelling the club to greater heights has rather indicated that the “honeymoon” is over.
Since being appointed on a permanent basis, Solksjaer has come under intense scrutiny due to numerous problems at the club ranging from lack of distinct style of play, players under-performing, egos in the dressing room, to uncertainty surrounding the future of some players. Most notably, players like Juan Mata and Ander Herrera whose contracts are expiring at the end of the season, Paul Pogba who is continually being linked with a move away from Old Trafford and David De Gea who has committed costly errors in games against Arsenal, Barcelona, Man City and most recently, Chelsea.
United have won just twice in their last ten matches which included an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Everton, home and away defeats to Barcelona which got them dumped out of the champions league, getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton wanderers , home defeat to neighbours Manchester City and a one-all draw at home to Chelsea which leaves their hopes of playing in the champions league next season hanging in the balance.
Solksjaer’s appointment on a permanent basis came after demands by ex-players, fans and the media to hand him the job, but that was the “honeymoon” period where the players were playing to prove that Mourinho is the problem.
Time has proven that the club’s decision to appoint him permanently was down to emotion and not logic. Solksjaer has shown that he lacks the tactical acumen to manage a club as big as Manchester United.
United fans are already looking forward to next season with the hope that some big-name signings will be made in the summer. They hope that the signings will improve the club, but which world class player will join the club ahead of other big clubs like Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool etc.? Top players love playing in the biggest competitions like the champions league which the club might not be able to guarantee. World class players also like playing under world-class managers like Guardiola, Klopp, Zidane, Pochettino and even Mourinho. Solksjaer does not fall into this category of managers, at the moment.
The club’s board should have waited till the end of the season to properly assess his performance before handing him the reigns on the hot seat where proven and elite managers like Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho have all failed.
They should have tried going all-out for a top manager like Zinedine Zidane (who was available then) or Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.
They now have it all to do in the summer in order to bring United back to its glory days. They will surely be in a dilemma of whether to replace Solksjaer or stick with him and support him with huge cash in the transfer market.
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