The Norwegian has turned the tides at the club after having been appointed as the caretaker manager.
Appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the interim caretaker manager was nothing less than a stroke of genius, especially after how his initial spell has turned out at Manchester United. The tactician has made MUFC relevant again and firing on all cylinders after the Red Devils had endured a horrid first-half of the campaign that led to the former gaffer Jose Mourinho getting sacked. Since then, 17 games have passed and Ole has cemented his candidacy for the permanent role in style. Manchester United are undefeated away from home and have lost only once and won 14 matches under their interim gaffer.
Mauricio Pochettino was the stronger candidate but has now been left out of consideration within the United fan-base, who are convinced that Ole is their manager next season. Therefore, we have picked the five reasons that make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserving of the permanent role as manager of Manchester United.
5. Tactical Awareness
Many football pundits had written Solskjaer off even before he took up the mantle at United. The reason being his relatively short career as a manager; with the last notable job being his stint with Cardiff City back in 2014 in the Premier League. However, Solskjaer has shown tactical maturity that is befitting of a seasoned manager. Instead of imposing formations and roles on the players, Ole has shaped his team around the quality/availability of the players at his disposal.
Surprisingly, the players adapted to his tactics with ease and despite having to put out different formations due to injuries and suspensions, the gaffer has managed to bring out the best from his players and get the desired results in the process. The Norwegian has also shown incredible observational skills and has made impactful substitutions along the way, altering where needed.
A recent example of taking off Eric Bailly at the stroke of 30 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League and bringing on Diogo Dalot gave United a good balance and stability prior to which PSG were exploiting the right wing with ease.
4. Instilling positivity in and around the club
Whether one is a Manchester United fan or not, watching Solskjaer attend press conferences is a breath of fresh air. Earlier, Jose Mourinho cut a frustrating figure in the pre-match and post-match conferences after enduring an unpleasant start to the season. That set the whole mood which seemed to seep into the performances of the players and the support of the fans.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is always positive and upbeat while interacting with the press.
Solskjaer has brought back proverbial smiles on the faces of the players, club staff and the fans, with his demeanour and positive approach. Despite losing the first-leg at home to PSG or having to deal with one injury after another, Solskjaer never seemed to complain and took every challenge in his stride. This attitude has brought out a team spirit that was not witnessed for some years. It’s a sight for sore eyes around the Old Trafford to see a manager all smiles in the face of every obstacle and having a level head in dire situations. Another reason why Solskjaer will be seriously considered for the permanent role.
3. Focus on self-improvement rather than containing the opposition
A massive change in the preparation before a match that has been observed at United is the inward outlook. The interim gaffer has made sure that first and foremost, internal improvements need to be made rather than focussing more on the opponents. The former gaffer had the tendency to set-up his squad as a counter to how the opposition was set-up.
Ole has changed that approach and has ensured that United play to their strengths which is attacking football, rather than playing negatively to stop the opposition. Larger emphasis is now put into playing in accordance to the capabilities brought to the table by the players. The results of this outlook can be easily seen by how comfortable United players are on the ball and have clarity as to what their roles are on the pitch. The caretaker manager has been efficient in fixing the prevalent problems at the club and that is one of the reasons why fans are rooting for him to be the permanent manager.
2. Results have proved his quality to be a top manager
Before Solskjaer took up the reins at the club, MUFC were languishing at the 6th position in the league standings with 26 points from 17 games, 11 points adrift from the fourth spot, i.e., the final Champions League place. Fast forward to the present day and Manchester United have marched into the fourth position already, accumulating 58 points in 29 games. They are back in the top-four contention and now have their sights to overtake Tottenham Hotspurs to the third place in the standings.
Moreover, Manchester United are strong favourites to lift the FA Cup after eliminating Arsenal and Chelsea in the 4th and 5th Round respectively. The cherry on top came when Manchester United orchestrated a historical comeback in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, after eliminating PSG by winning the second-leg 3-1 in an incredible fashion after losing the first leg 2-0, thus becoming the first club ever to come back from a two-goal deficit in the first-leg.
Relive Manchester United’s epic comeback against PSG in the UEFA Champions League
1. Lives and breathes Manchester United and understands its core principles
The biggest reason Solskjaer deserves the permanent role is due to his understanding of the club, which is second to no other manager today. He has had a successful career playing as a forward at Manchester United and took his first steps as a manager by taking control of the reserves squad under the tutelage of the legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. He is the perfect embodiment of the values Sir Alex imbued in the club in the duration of his 26 years at the helm.
The 46-year-old gaffer has become a fan-favourite already, and not appointing him as the permanent manager next season might be counter-productive for the owners at the club. He has improved the performances of every single player in the squad and believes strongly in giving the youth chances at the highest level, which is a prerequisite for any manager of Manchester United.
Players like Paul Pogba have a good relationship with Solskjaer and enjoy playing under him.
The player-manager relationship has never been this good at the club and speaks volumes of how players like Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera among others have enjoyed playing under Solskjaer.
Some sections of the fans and many experts also believe that the appointment of Ole as the permanent manager is nothing but a formality that will be completed in the near future. It is safe to say that whether the higher-ups at Manchester United hand Solskjaer the permanent job or not, he has performed above and beyond any expectations and rightly deserves the permanent role.