TIME FOR CHANGE: IS OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE MANCHESTER UNITED JOB?
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still seeking his first piece of silverware after almost three years in charge.
Since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in late 2018, there is no doubt that Manchester United have progressed. He has guided United to both a Europa League final and a second-place finish in the league last year, albeit finishing 12 points off runaway champions Manchester City.
However, there are still massive questions as to whether the man in charge has what it takes to guide his side to the big prizes, in particular the Premier League and the Champions League.
Solskjaer’s record in the Champions League as United boss is simply not up to par. In 12 games United have won five and lost seven. Compared to Guardiola’s Champions League record at Manchester City of 36 wins from 54 matches, with just 11 defeats. As well as Klopp’s Champions League record at Liverpool of 27 wins from 46 matches, also with just 11 defeats.
Ole and his side's efforts in key matches have continuously fallen short of the mark. United have reached just one final since the Norwegian took charge which was in last year’s Europa League against Villareal, where they were defeated on penalties by a Villareal side that finished just fifth in the Spanish League last season. This was the first time that United had made it past a semi-final under Solskjaer, as their four previous semi-finals all ended in defeat across the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.
With the Red Devils spending a massive £125 million in the summer transfer window on Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and one of the greatest players of all time in Cristiano Ronaldo, there is extreme pressure for a big trophy this season.
However, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool arguably looking more likely than Manchester United to mount a serious title attempt so far, the Norwegian's best chance may well be an attempt to bring home one of the cups. But as his side are already out of the EFL Cup after a home defeat to West Ham, it leaves just the FA Cup and the Champions League to play for.
After Manchester United’s big spending in the transfer market, as well as them reaching the Europa League final last season, it’s unlikely that a sole FA Cup victory would be classed as a successful season. It may be that if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to retain his job next season, Manchester United must win the Champions League this year - or go deep into the tournament at the very least.
There is no doubt that Manchester United have the squad to win the Premier League and Champions League – especially after their recent transfer business. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may just not have the experience or know-how to take his side to that next level.
There are experienced managers if United were to look for a replacement, in the form of Premier League winner Antonio Conte, as well as three-time Champions League winner Zinedine Zidane. Additionally, there are other options such as current Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers or PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino – who is the current favourite to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
With this level of manager currently available, it is tough to see how Solskjaer will remain in the job, especially if United fail to mount a title challenge or bring home any silverware this season.