Ole Gunnar Solksjaer or OGS is perhaps the most polarising manager for Manchester United fans. In his three year run, he has quite magically divided the fanbase into two unyielding sides; the ones who moan about his trophyless tenure and the ones who laud his revival of the United DNA. Unfortunately, the more negative of the two sides seem to be more astute with their observation as Man United were the architects of the own disaster in the most recent Premier League match against Liverpool where OGS’ men were thwarted emphatically 5-0 on their own ground. If there wasn’t a more clear sign that OGS has reached what appears to be his ceiling, this was it.
The writing is surely on the wall now as OGS has failed to get 11 from 12 points available in the English league. And if we’re being completely honest, it wasn’t out of left field. Man United have been far from perfect in the past years, but even in the seasons before, there was some sense to be made as to why they were not performing well; whether it be a lack of squad depth, injury woes or an inexperienced squad. Since the brutal collapse in the Europa League and falling just short of winning the EPL, Man United have made serious attempts to cover its weak points. In the acquisition of set-piece coach Eric Ramsay, to the hiring of Darren Fletcher as Director of Football and most importantly, the purchase of 3 world-class players in Sancho, Ronaldo and Varane, Man United were more than prepared to debut a stronger, more resilient side without the showing soft underbelly they have been known for of late.
But how did it all go so wrong? The stellar start against Leeds seemed like a faraway dream now as Man United were exposed and defeated so easily by opponents who never had it this easy last season. Leicester, Aston Villa and now Liverpool have completely opened up Man United and destroyed OGS men, running them ragged in the once fortress that is Old Trafford. What’s mind-boggling is that these players shouldn’t be this bad. Ronaldo can score goals with extreme ease in any team he is in, Varane is a menace to defeat in a race and Sancho can get past anyone without breaking a sweat. And yet, in this team, they look like different, much weaker players. Where is the problem?
The way things stand, it looks to be OGS. How else do you explain the stark difference in the performance of the likes of Fred and Pogba during international duties compared to when performing under OGS? The same Paul Pogba who was often criticised as inconsistent can win two international trophies with France under Didier Deschamps, and the same Fred who is a constant target to blame in every match can reach the finals of Copa America with Brazil. These players seem to be able to perform extremely well anywhere else apart from in a Man United jersey.
The most important aspect a coach brings is tactical nous, and OGS unfortunately is showing a complete absence of it. Paul Scholes iterated in the midweek match against Atalanta that OGS was only able to pull off a win because he was not up against a clinical and defensively resilient team like Liverpool and that against Klopp, he wouldn’t have gotten away with a win under the same circumstances. Surely enough, he was right. Liverpool obliterated Man United last Sunday, but what was more frustrating is that OGS himself was not able to comprehend the tactical advantage Klopp had and walked straight into Liverpool’s trap.
As things stand, plenty of rumours are surrounding OGS’ future. There have been numerous journalists reporting that OGS has lost the trust of senior players, with a number of them frustrated by his inability to tactically lead them. There have also been rumours that talks have been initiated to have Zidane or Antonio Conte come in and show OGS the door. The lack of urgency regarding OGS future is slightly worrying as fans can no longer bear to see OGS ruin his reputation as a club legend and most importantly, the prospects of Man United winning the league. Fans all over the Internet are strongly urging for him to resign, with OleOut trending more resoundingly than ever.
The future remains murky as rather than addressing the situation of Man United and OGS, the glazers, owners of Man United are instead flying over to India to secure the purchase of a Cricket Club. In the event that OGS stays, we can only pray that David De Gea turns into the best goalkeeper in the world and save the club and its fans from the despair of a loss, or losses, again.
Hartwick is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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