But Will This End Up Another Fine United Mess?

On the 29th July 1996, Manchester United paid Norwegian club Molde £1.5M for a virtually unknown striker called Ole Gunnar Solskjær who’d scored 31 goals in 42 appearances for his club. A move that surprised many fans as United were in the hunt for Alan Shearer.

In the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, on the 26th May 1999 at Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium, Solskjær etched himself into the hearts of all Manchester United fans with a 90 + 2 minutes and 17 seconds winning goal against Bayern Munich. He’d joined the action as a substitute in the 81st minute. 

On the 19th December 2018 Manchester United appointed Solskjær as their Caretaker Manager and he’s achieved something that no other Manchester United manager has ever done! He’s won six top-flight matches in a row. Sir Matt Busby didn’t achieve this or Sir Alex Ferguson, and neither did the recently departed special one. 

Keeping The Seat Warm For Mauricio Pochettino?

There is no doubt that Solskjær brings something to United’s table which could be due to his experience on the bench. In 366 games for United, in which he scored 126 goals, he came off the bench 150 times and scored some important late goals. As a ‘Super Sub’ he might be one of the best the game has ever seen. As a caretaker manager, possibly keeping the seat warm for Pochettino, he’s not doing a bad job either.

Bench Experience

During his United career, with all those substitute appearances, Solskjær had a first class opportunity to study one of the best managers the Barclays Premier League has ever seen. Not only on the bench with him but in dressing rooms and in training. He must have picked up so many things from Sir Alex Ferguson and seen a few hair dryers flying around! Now, with Sir Alex in close attendance, he can put into practice his bench experience.

Easy Start!

To be fair the 6 wins have been against teams that can be classified as 3rd and 4th tier Barclays Premier League sides with the exception of Tottenham Hotspur. Sterner tests are to come and his team needs strengthening to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City although the core of the side is nearly there. David de Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Paul Pogba, in the right frame of mind, is one of the best midfielders around. Marcus Rashford, playing more central, has been superb and this is great news for England as well. It’s at the back where United have problems. When Ashley Young, a born again and converted winger, is considered their most consistent defender something can’t be right. Nothing against Young, who’s performed superbly at full back, but he will be 34 in July. The buzz word these days is about transfer windows and how many windows it will take to fix a team. Whoever United appoint they need to fix the defence as soon as possible.

What next?

Will it be a case of ‘Sorry Ole’ we want Pochettino. Or Ole gets the job and makes a fine mess? It’s a tough one. But if Sir Alex can remain in the picture, and Micky Phelan, then the former ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ might just make it work!

Published by Marc Gingell

Marc has been writing sports reports for newspapers and magazines for 15 years and is the writer of British sporting legend Brian Jacks award winning autobiography. Brian Jacks the Mindset of a Champion.

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