Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managed his one centesimal recreation as Manchester United boss over the weekend, marking the event with a sorry 1-0 defeat by the hands of Arsenal.
That century has handed remarkably quick as a result of it nonetheless appears like solely yesterday he was being touted as an interim substitute for a sacked Jose Mourinho – which is simply seven weeks shy of two years in the past!
Solskjaer has divided opinion ever since day one, with every step ahead and setback not sufficient to vary that.
Typically, Solskjaer appears to get his ways spot on, significantly for large video games. Look no additional for a current instance of that than the 4-4-2 diamond he employed in opposition to RB Leipzig within the Champions League, straight contributing to the 5-0 outcome.
Every week earlier in the identical competitors, he opted for a back-three flanked by wing-backs in opposition to PSG to supply higher defensive safety in opposition to two of one of the best forwards on the earth.
However there are different instances when his crew seems devoid of concepts, often when they’re fancied to win. The gamers should take some duty, but the supervisor must be the one to do one thing completely different when issues clearly will not be working.
That isn’t all Solskjaer’s fault given the failing of the recruitment division, though an elite supervisor ought to get extra from a crew than the sum of its collective components. We will in all probability all agree at this level that Solskjaer, whereas not a nasty supervisor, positively isn’t an elite one.
It’s clear that Solskjaer is a well-liked determine amongst United gamers, definitely in comparison with predecessor Mourinho. However is being in style alone actually sufficient to get one of the best out of a gaggle of gamers who typically find yourself punching under their weight?
In the long run, he dealt with the lack of David de Gea’s kind nicely by convincing Dean Henderson to occupy a quantity two place and supply stiff competitors. That’s regardless of initially seeming like he needed to bury his head within the sand and hope issues would kind themselves out.
Standing by Harry Maguire in gentle of his lack of kind and troubling ordeal in Greece additionally appears to have been the fitting path and the United skipper has improved after a dreadful begin to the season.
His dealing with of Mason Greenwood, extra on which to come back, is one other tick in his favour.
There must be extra, although. Solskjaer was an attacking participant whose intelligence and consciousness helped him obtain greater than his expertise would possibly in any other case have allowed him to. He has extra gifted gamers than himself within the squad, but doesn’t get sufficient out of them persistently.
As a lot as he could be impressed by his mentor, Solskjaer is hardly a mini-Ferguson. He won’t essentially want to be seen as fearsome, however he equally doesn’t carry the identical aura or presence as contemporaries like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp or Jose Mourinho.
You’d wish to be his good friend, however he doesn’t have the identical presence because the actually profitable coaches.
Solskjaer’s press convention routine is ‘Mr Good Man’. He isn’t controversial, by no means upsets anyone and is commonly smiling, laughing and joking.
That’s nice, however you’d anticipate extra prickliness from a supervisor destined for trophies on the elite stage. Sir Alex Ferguson was notoriously difficult to cope with – long-time ITV reporter Gabriel Clarke recently told 90min there was an expectation you’d by no means dare waste Fergie’s time – whereas the likes of Guardiola, Klopp and Mourinho, as talked about, simply have extra about them.
It has been refreshing extra lately to see Solskjaer take a agency stand in opposition to the media angles in opposition to Brandon Williams and, extra aggressively, Mason Greenwood. The Norwegian has been fast to shoot down wrongful data being unfold by the media about his younger skills.
Outcomes, above else, depend most. However as with every thing else in Solskjaer’s managerial reign at Outdated Trafford they’ve been decidedly combined – large highs and main lows.
It’s tough to argue with a prime three end final season – United’s second highest within the Premier League since 2013 – in addition to three cup semi-finals. However a disastrous finish to 2018/19 and a poor begin to 2020/21 sadly take away from that.
The positives embody three wins over Manchester Metropolis and Chelsea every final season, two Champions League wins in opposition to Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes, the primary crew to take factors off Liverpool final season, the primary crew in Premier League historical past to win 4 consecutive video games by a minimum of three targets, a 5-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig, 4 of United’s biggest wins within the post-Sir Alex Ferguson period in 2020 alone and a 13-game unbeaten run to complete 2019/20.
The lows are simply as plentiful – three wins within the opening 11 Premier League video games final season, a 4-0 defeat to Everton in April 2019, one level from two video games in opposition to Cardiff and Huddersfield to complete 2018/19, defeats to Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley and West Ham, dwelling defeats to Crystal Palace in consecutive seasons, the 6-1 mauling by Spurs and two wins from six to start out 2020/21.
Solskjaer’s United will disappoint you one week and shock you the subsequent.