When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived as the interim manager of Manchester United, the expectations were that he will be gone in the summer.
The main issue with his predecessor Jose Mourinho was the atmosphere at the club. The Norwegian icon seemed like the perfect man for the job. He instantly lifted the players and broke several records in his first couple of months.
Perhaps, he was too good for the task at hand, from the club’s perspective. The excellent performance and the results convinced the fans and many legends of Manchester United that Ole must stay.
The board had no other choice but to give Solskjaer the role permanently. Almost a year later, it seems like this was the wrong decision.
Let’s take a look at the reason why Solskajer is no longer needed by the club.
The Results from Last Year Are Deceitful
You can’t ignore Solskjaer’s achievements from the first several months at the helm. The question is if the performance justified so many wins.
I would say that the answer is no. The Red Devils were inconsistent and had a lot of luck in many games. I believe their winning streak was similar to Unai Emery’s unbeaten streak as an Arsenal manager in the same season.
In both situations, you could see the problems and the expected goals suggested that the clubs should’ve been losing games and points more often.
And yet, they were clinical up front and lucky at the back. These things happen in football but they can’t last forever.
Ever since Solskjaer signed a permanent contract in March, he has lost 12 Premier League games and won only one 11. That’s the form of a mid-table club and we’re talking about almost a full season.
Such a record suggest that the initial results were unsustainable in the long run. The reality is much different and there’s no reason to believe it will change soon.
Inability to Win against Smaller Teams
The biggest issue of Manchester United is the inability to beat smaller teams. We saw this multiple times this season already. If we exclude the losses against Manchester City and Liverpool, all of the other defeats of the Red Devils came against clubs that should be crushed.
The last match against Norwich is the latest example but you can find many more in the last two campaigns.
Manchester United doesn’t know what to do when the opponent is defending in numbers. The team doesn’t create enough chances and often is vulnerable at the counter.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had months to fix the issue and he failed. The injury of Paul Pogba is not helping, but I don’t think that the absence of one player should be an excuse.
No One Is Getting Better
The harsh reality is that no player has gotten better under Solskjaer. You could argue that many of them were worse under Jose Mourinho but that’s hardly a factor here.
That might be true for the first several months of the Norwegian’s tenure but the long-term performance is similar to what the same group showed in Jose’s final season.
Sure, you can’t deny that there are flashes of brilliance here and there. That’s hardly enough at this level, though, as consistency is the key to success.
Just look at Liverpool and Manchester City. You would struggle to identify more than a player or two with more than a couple of average games since the start of the campaign.
Sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at this point of the season is pointless, so the Manchester United board should leave the Norwegian at the club by the end of the campaign. However, the preparation for the next person in charge should start at this very minute.
The Red Devils need to identify the right man for the job and prepare for the summer. If they don’t do it, the club risks losing another season in mediocrity.