HE may be best remembered for his part in Man Utd’s 1998 season, culminating in that famous injury time winner in Barcelona. But is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about to start a new chapter in his United history and become the next permanent manager?
I’ve held back up to now, wanting to avoid jumping on the bandwagon and making my judgement too hastily. But let’s be honest, if this is his job interview, you’d struggle to come up with a better one!
A few eyebrows were raised when Ole was named as the caretaker. After all, his only previous management experience in the Premier League ended with him being sacked by Cardiff. Hardly the ideal audition for probably the biggest job in football.
However, Jose Mourinho’s tenure had ended just as many people predicted it would, myself included. Results were poor, performances were worse, everyone seemed to have fallen out with each other, and morale was at an all time low. Plus ca change, as the French might say.
So it’s fair to say that any change of leadership would have lead to spirits being raised and performances picking up. But nobody could have predicted the magnitude of Ole’s impact. Suddenly, players who looked like they didn’t want to be at the club were playing with a new lease of life and with smiles on their faces. The style of football actually befitted a Manchester United team, for the first time since Sir Alex left in all honesty.
What’s more, the soundbites are good. Solskjaer is actually saying the right things, and these days that has more of an impact than ever. He’s made it clear that playing for the club is a privilege and an opportunity that players need to grasp with both hands. He’s clearly stated that we should be attacking our opponents and looking to win every game. The cowardly, miserable defensive football has gone. We’re finally looking like Man Utd again.
If our options are to keep Ole on, or spend what has been rumoured to be £50 million trying to appoint Pochettino, then for me the decision has to swing Ole’s way. He has to be given a chance to build on this incredible start. Give him some backing to bring in a couple of his own players, and let’s see what he can do.
We’ve already been lifted from probably one of the lowest points in the club’s recent history, and the man that’s done that is surely worthy of a chance to prove himself further. Whether the board will see sense is another matter, but hope springs eternal while Ole’s at the wheel…