I’ve been writing about this slow decline for some time now, but Manchester United cannot go on like this for much longer. The time is now for the relatively young Norwegian boss to step aside. It has been coming for some time as the many pieces available illustrate.
This Manchester United team is full of talent, should probably have a trophy or two and, as Gary Neville recently stated, they all wish to win and perform well for the badge on the shirt. And yet they are hamstrung.
These players are not being assisted by their boss. While Manchester City have one of the most tactical bosses in soccer, United have one who, in the words of a United streamer recently, gets outcoached by Mikel Arteta each time they meet.
That cannot be acceptable to anyone at Old Trafford and while it is not the best time to have to look for new coaches, there are certainly many available names of interest even as Eddie Howe and Antonio Conte are no longer a part of that list.
After Solskjaer: Who and what should United provide for this team?
The team must not find themselves back in the Europa League. They have to be in the Champions League, especially with the talent this team has. There are few teams, all things considered, who are more talented than these Red Devils and yet are not as great as they should be.
United usually do well against their derby partners, but not on this latest occasion. That would’ve been a smart victory, but it wouldn’t have saved Ole altogether. It would’ve given him some breathing space going into the third international break of the season.
As it stands, that did not happen, and now the pundits are speculating who might take his job and salvage the season for United. While I have gone on record as saying Zinedine Zidane is the best candidate available given his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and his trophy record, there are probably more natural fits out there.
Ernesto Valverde, last seen at Barcelona, would probably do a really good job at United, merging tactical knowledge and an understanding of how to relate to and assist his best players. Lucien Favre, previously of Borussia Dortmund, might also be a good fit seeing as he coached a very talented team in the Bundesliga that included Jadon Sancho.
While these are three names, the previously linked list has so many more and they all might provide something similar and different than the names here mentioned might. Whoever that ends up being, however, this team will have to hire a boss who can provide real, live, tactical analysis and adjustments for a squad that oftentimes appears as though it is on its own while the boss watches from the dugout.
Better defensive organization with the talent his successor will inherit will be key as well. The transition from David de Gea will have to happen with whoever is next. Dean Henderson is the better goalkeeper and at least when he makes mistakes, it is due to youth and inexperience.
Paul Pogba should be sold this winter or else he will be gone next summer while Fred can go wherever he pleases with little to no fuss. Donny van de Beek will either have to be utilized or sold to make room for more players and new strategies will have to be implemented to get the best players on the pitch and scoring as often as they should.
It will not be easy to move on or improve this team in the middle of the season and whoever is coming in will have a tall task on their hands. For many, this looks like a dream job, and for many more, it is a trap, and one that only the finest of coaching technicians might manage to unfurl.
Whoever ends up being chosen will have to fix a few things that plague this club, and persistent inconsistency is top of the list. Defensive organization and a concrete offensive system will also go a long way in getting this team right. It’s a team that has Ronaldo, and so if the team can just stay in each match until the end, they will always have a chance to win. Right now they do not have a chance to win each match as they make so many mistakes on any given day.
While I like Solskjaer, it appears as though his time has come and gone with the Red Devils for now, but not necessarily forever.