Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future as Manchester United manager is surely going to be decided in the coming weeks. On 24th October, 2021, an unfavorable memory was engraved in the memories of all Manchester United fans worldwide, a 5-0 loss dealt to them by their arch rival, Liverpool. It was a shambolic display from all who were involved starting from the coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjær down to every United player that set their foot on the Old Trafford pitch. No single Manchester United player stood out in that game with no zeal and no passion to change the result of the game but one thing which was clearly evident was that Liverpool tactically outclassed United on the day. One team had Jürgen Klopp as their coach, while the other had Solskjær whose team was unbalanced from the get go.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Future Needs Deciding Sooner Rather Than Later
A 3-2 win in the UEFA Champions league game over Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio of Italy, just before the Liverpool game at Old Trafford masked a series of disappointing performances and it was only a matter of time until everything fell apart. The team’s setup had been suspect in recent games, starting games with 4 or 5 attacking players, while having an unreliable midfield behind them, an uncoordinated defence where the captain of the team is unarguably in the worst form out of them all. Starting games with four and five attacking players is something a Pep Guardiola would do, but everyone is not Pep. Guardiola will also have a reliable midfield behind these attackers and as usual a solid defence. Against Liverpool, United started the game playing a very high line, in a very undisciplined defensive setup, where Liverpool found joy and capitalized at every point in the first half of the game. Such a tactically naive move in a game of such magnitude begs the question as to ‘what is going on, in Solskjær’s head?’ Only he can answer this question.
A major decision is in the hands of the Manchester United board to make. Sack Ole Gunnar Solskjær now or give him a little more time? In his post match interview after the Liverpool game, Solskjaer made his opinion on this issue clear to everyone, he said;
“I do believe in myself, I do believe that I am getting close to what I want with the club, I think what we’ve done, what I’ve seen, the development, of course, the results lately haven’t been good enough. But I’ve got to keep strong and I do believe in what we’ve been doing, the coaching staff and the players.”
He is clearly ready to keep pushing and trusting the process, but are the Manchester United board ready to wait for him? Are the United faithful ready to wait for Ole Gunnar’s seed to bear fruit?
Expectancies – Realistic Ambitions Versus Historical Desire
It Is still early in the season and a whole lot can still happen before the end of the season but the bad news for United fans is that their fate is completely in the hands of the board who have a solid record of bad decisions with one being the contract extension of Solskjaer back in August this year even though it was not yet clear to the fans if he is the one to finally revive a sleeping Manchester United. Was it short term memory or just an overflowing spirit of forgiveness that made the board give a new contract and not at least wait till the end of this season or maybe till January, considering he just lost a major UEFA final to an underdog team in Villarreal. Right now, terminating Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s contract with the club will involve offering him a huge severance package.
The upcoming weeks could be crucial for Manchester United as a club – will we be seeing a Chelsea-like move that is sacking the coach at the first sign of trouble or an Arsenal-like move that is about trusting the process. Whichever it will be, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future needs to be decided sooner rather than later.
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