When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named as Jose Mourinho’s replacement at Manchester United until the end of the season, there were a lot of raised eyebrows across the football world. The former United striker has a limited amount of experience managing and coaching, and in his one previous spell in the Premier League in charge of Cardiff, he was sacked after just nine months.
Whatever the reason for choosing Solskjaer to take over the reins at the club in what was a difficult period, it is proving to be a great move by the hierarchy at Old Trafford. The Norwegian has found a way of ensuring that all the attacking talent within the squad are enjoying their football once again, and that has delivered positive results on the field.
With the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard at the club, it is difficult to see why United had dropped so far away from their top four rivals in the Premier League. Mourinho is a manager who has been successful all over Europe in a number of different leagues and has won the Champions League twice as a manager. However, his style just didn’t seem to be working, and the board clearly felt they had no choice but to dismiss him following their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
United have been able to replicate what West Ham did before Christmas by getting on a roll under Solskjaer. As pointed out in the preview of the Hammers’ game against Fulham last month, when you win three games in a row, confidence becomes sky high and you end up a difficult team to beat.
With so many positive results to start his spell in charge, Solskjaer is doing a fantastic job of proving he could be the man to take over long term. Victories have come over Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Reading. Those are games they were expected to win; however, United had dropped lots of points earlier in the season against teams they were heavy favourites to beat.
The big test for Solskjaer will be when he has to prepare a team to face the big guns in the league such as Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham; that is where he is going to have to show some tactical prowess. But for now, the fans at the club are smiling, and that is largely down to their former super sub.