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Can Manchester United rediscover former glories under Solskjaer?

Tue, Jan 26 2021
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None Credit: John Doyle

Eight years following the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United are yet to lift another league title. Much like Liverpool in years previous, the Red Devils run the risk of being locked out of the Premier League picture for a generation.

The club won the FA Cup and Europa League in 2016 and 2017 respectively, which has helped to spare United’s blushes. Yet for several years the has club appeared way off mounting a serious challenge to win the league.

However, under the current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, could the 20-time League winners be poised to add to their tally? What is the impact the Norwegian coach has had since his arrival at Old Trafford?

Cult hero

Solskjaer arrived at the club with a major advantage over his three predecessors in that he is already a hero in the eyes of the club’s fans. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all have much more impressive managerial credentials, but none command the respect the former striker does.

Renowned for his impact as a substitute, Solskjaer wrote his name in United folklore with the winning goal in the famous Champions League Final win against Bayern Munich in 1999. His strike secured a treble and crowned one of the club’s most successful seasons in its history. Though his exploits in the red shirt are not comparable to the achievement of players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, Solskjaer can rightfully consider himself a modern-day legend and this helped him gain support following his initial appointment as caretaker manager.

Man Manager

While van Gaal and Mourinho are known for having big personalities, Solskjaer’s more reserved character has proven to be an asset during his spell with the club. One of his major challenges has been to manage the egos within the United squad, and he has succeeded in bringing together a unit of players that had previously shown evidence of discontentment.

It is perhaps Solskjaer’s profile as a less experienced, younger manager that has helped endear him to the players in the United squad. The baby-faced boss prefers engaging with players on their level rather than ruling through intimidation and authority.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have also demonstrated this laid back style during their spells in the Premier League. While Ferguson was a firebrand, Solskjaer’s cooler demeanour appears to be in keeping with the modern style of elite football management.

Building momentum

Solskjaer has proven himself an expert in allowing his squad to quietly build, resisting opportunities to label them title contenders. And instead, choosing to play down views that the club could be set to enter another golden era. With this, anyone who likes to bet on football with Space Casino and those studying the markets will have spotted United’s odds to win the title shorten with each passing month as momentum builds. Currently, the Red Devils stand at 13/2 to win the 20/21 Premier League season.

The man in charge has also dealt with setbacks well. Putting the recent Champions League group stage exit in the past and guiding United to an excellent run of form in domestic competitions.

Though Solskjaer is yet to win a major trophy with United, and while Pep’s City and Jurgen’s Liverpool arguably remain ahead of the Red Devils, the understated Norwegian appears to be quietly leading a new revolution at Old Trafford.

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