“Ole’s at the Wheel, tell me how good does it feel?”
A chant so loved by Manchester United supporters when Ole became the team’s caretaker manager on December 19, 2018. It definitely felt good back then, the team had freedom and freshness after a Jose Mourinho spell that ended in disaster.
United were winning games and everyone idolized Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the new messiah of ‘Old Trafford’. Especially after that inspired performance to eliminate PSG in the Champions League after beating them 3-1 in Paris.
One year later, though, things stand very differently, as every Red Devils’ fan will tell you. But what changed since then?
First things first, Ole was still just a caretaker manager at that point. He was signed for full time on March 28, 2019. Yes, he had won 14 out of his 19 matches in charge of United. Yes, he had made United the first team in the history of the Champions League to advance after losing the first leg at home by two goals or more.
But was it that just there the ‘Ole effect’ was starting to fade away. After all, the Norwegian icon does not have huge experience as a manager. He was only ever in charge of Norwegian Molde, and Cardiff for one season, where the team was relegated, having won just 30 points. And he was Man United Reserves coach between 2008-2011.
Should Ole stay?
Both answers here depend on the vision the United board has for the future of the club. Solskjaer has been working with a very young squad this season, featuring some very good-looking United youth prospects. A lot of players left during the summer – Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia. And while Harry Maguire, Daniel James, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka joined the squad, there was always the problem with the missing striker.
It doesn’t seem like The Red Devils lack in front of goal, though, as Marcus Rashford has been very prolific this season. Anthony Martial also delivered several, while teenager Mason Greenwood has impressed in his short playing time.
Judging by the winter transfer window speculations, United have been linked with other young players like Jack Grealish, James Maddison, and Bruno Fernandes. It seems like Ole has the vision to build the team for the next couple of years.
And it’s obvious he needs time to do it. After all, sir Alex Ferguson was nearly fired in his fourth season at United. We all know how the faith in him was repaid.
Should Ole go?
There’s a lot of debate amongst fans and media whether United will sack Solskjaer at the end of the season. One of the biggest arguments being that Mauricio Pochettino is currently free. And sure, that sounds like a good deal.
The Argentine coach has proved in the past couple of years he can be successful in both the Premier League and Champions League. His Tottenham team did not manage to win a trophy, unfortunately.
A lot of people criticize Solskjaer for not being tough enough. He appears to be smiling all the time and just too good of a person, according to many. Some doubt that the 46-year old Norwegian can control the dressing room and have the respect of the players. Especially in cases like Paul Pogba, one of the highest-paid players in the world, and his agent Mino Raiola’s comments.
So, let’s get Pochettino.
Would this be the right step though? Some argue that the club already changed a lot of managers after sir Alex Ferguson retired. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho. As history clearly shows us, United have been the most successful with a long-term manager.
Could Solskjaer become that figure for the club? Or maybe Pochettino is the man. It’s probably a third manager, as everyone has their opinions. We would love to hear your say on the topic!