SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United walks off after the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at St Mary’s Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
New Man on the Job
The scorer of arguably United’s most memorable goal quietly surprised the entire footballing world when he was appointed the caretaker manager in December 2018. In his 14 matches before being appointed as the permanent boss in March, Ole had an instant impact as the Red Devils won 14 and lost just thrice racking up an impressive 2.32 points per game including the famous night in Paris which shall remain etched in the hearts of fans forever.
End of Honeymoon
Since he’s been handed over the reigns full time, reality has set in hard and fast. The performances have dropped and recent results barring the Chelsea thrashing on opening day give hardly anything to cheer about. United have scored more than 1 goal only thrice in the last 21 games with a humble 11 goals in 11 games in the league. Things in defence have tightened up relatively. Away form is a major worry with Ole’s only 6 away wins (last one being in February) coming in his first 6 away games followed by 3 draws and 4 loses since. He now has 2 fewer points in his 28 games than what Mourinho had in his last 28 games.
Work in Progress
Clearly, the people in power had understood the significance of the club’s DNA after several high profile names both in managerial and player roles failed to make the desired impact despite the hefty price tags. It is time once again to mould the club into another man’s philosophy. The fans are more than willing and on board. Ole is clear that attacking and fast football is his vision and quoting Sir Alex and his memories at the club certainly gives him an extra cushion. Positive and never publicly putting players to the sword, the man is a breath of fresh air. The deadwood clear out in the Summer was positive and what the fans had been crying out for a good 6 years now, but not signing much needed replacements seemed a bit shortsighted and naive. Given Ed Woodward’s record and the board’s situation and still no Director of Football appointment in sight, the blame certainly cant be on just the manager.
Bumpy road ahead
Although the vision is for the longer term, short term results are inevitable in a club the size of Manchester United. The team seems to be in need of at least five first team players and it would be unfair to expect them to fit right in seamlessly. Injuries and inconsistencies have slowed down the rebuild project for now. Youth will play a major role but entirely depending on 17,18,19 year olds to churn out results week in week out is reaching at best. Ole is looking for players with pace, power and “personality”. It is important for the board to give the manager resources to work with, especially when his attitude is right and the direction is proper. Recent tying down of several key players on long-term deals shows collective belief and promise. Patience and time seems to be the need of the hour but with other teams rebuilding and consolidating fast, it’s very important to be equipped to challenge for trophies on all fronts with a versatile and able squad. For now, it’s time to buck up and get behind the team in full force singing “Ole’s at the wheel….”
What do you think?