Manchester United’s start to the season has been poor at best. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over Jose Mourinho at the tail end of last season, there was genuine optimism as he brought a sense of hope and positivity to the club. Something the former Chelsea manager failed to provide during the later stages of his reign. The first game of the Premier League season against Chelsea proved to be an anomaly as United struggled to win games. Managing only three wins in their first ten games. Although United currently sit 7th on the table, their turbulent start sees Solskjaer facing mounting pressure to turn things around.
United’s fan base has been vocal with a portion of fans believing the job is too big for Solskjaer. While others believe he needs time and patience to rebuild, and shape the squad he wants. Solskjaer however, is under no illusion just how mammoth a task he has on his hands. Openly admitting that United’s rebuilding will not be an overnight success.
Youth is a Priority for the Long Haul
While results aren’t going their way at the moment, Solskjaer does have a clear plan that he wants to implement. One that the Manchester United board are fully behind. That plan looks to rely on youth rather than on experienced superstar players to get results. It’s certainly a different direction from the last several seasons. But it is a welcome change from under-performing superstars.
Simply put, the older and more experienced players United have at their disposal have just not been up to scratch. To his credit, Solskjaer has gotten rid of some of the “deadwood”. Alexis Sanchez was loaned out to Inter Milan and looks set to have a future elsewhere. Romelu Lukaku left for Inter Milan during the summer and although he wasn’t in poor form, he wanted out. Although that looks to be a mistake particularly with United’s poor goal scoring form this season. If a player doesn’t want to be at your club, there’s no point keeping him.
However, yes, the favouring of youth over superstars isn’t getting them the results fans are looking for right now. But this is a team that is being built to sustain success over the long run, not provide short term success. The hiring of a new manager can change that and take a different approach.
Solskjaer needs Two or Three Transfer Windows to Build a Competitive Squad
For all the criticism of another poor transfer window by United where they failed to sign players in several key positions. Solskjaer’s three new additions have been performing well. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have both been solid additions to United’s backline, despite their ludicrous transfer fees from Crystal Palace and Leicester City. Daniel James has been a revelation and United’s most consistent performer this season since joining from Swansea.
We must also remember Solskjaer has only had one transfer window to shape the type of squad he wants. That simply is not enough time to build a team and despite United’s riches he just cannot buy a new starting eleven. The upcoming January transfer window should provide Solskjaer an opportunity to add depth to his squad, particularly in midfield and up front.
Too Many Managerial Changes will not move the Club Forward
There have been three managers in six years since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. David Moyes the so called “Chosen One” left just ten months into a 6-year contract. His successor Louis van Gaal, an experienced title winning coach was ushered out the door after two years. He made room for the “Special One”. Jose Mourinho had a somewhat successful spell in charge. But ultimately faced the sack as relationships fractured within the club.
Sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer not only seems harsh, but it would be two steps backwards for the club. The hiring of Solskjaer is meant to be a new beginning. A new way of going forward by promoting youth and buying players who are willing to play for the club. Hiring a new manager means new philosophies, tactical changes, squad changes etc. That is of course if United can get a willing manager. After all, United’s managerial position has become one of high risk and could turn even the most experienced of managers away. Manchester United’s new plan on relying on youth is a plan that the United board are 100% committed behind. It would be quite the dagger in the back if they were to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with less than a season to show any progress.
Yes, the board and fans need to realize it will take time and patience. Yes, there will be ups and downs, with more downs than ups. But if United are to return to dominance, now is the time to rebuild. Constant managerial changes will not help the rebuild phase, it will only hinder the club and United will be stuck in a constant merry go round.
Post by Kevin Wong. Follow him here on Twitter.