Most, if not, all Manchester United fans are saddened and unhappy at the current state of the club. With the historical successes of Sirs Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, many United fans have been accustomed to success or at least being somewhere near the top. The current United side is quite clearly not at that level under club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite this, United must stick with the Norwegian and allow him to build his own team.
Ole was appointed caretaker manager of United in December 2018, following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho. He made an immediate impact as a rejuvanted United thrashed Cardiff City 5-1 away from home. United then enjoyed a fine run of form under Ole, rising to 4th in the table by March as well as knocking Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League against all odds with a 3-1 victory at the Parc de Princes. It was from that game forward that the form started to decline which saw United end up in 6th position in the Premier League and being easily knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, subsequently failing to qualify for next season’s competition and dropping into the Europa League.
During the summer transfer window, Ole had the opportunity to make his mark on the team. The exciting arrival of young Welsh winger Daniel James from Swansea City brought about optimistic vibes along with right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and established England centre-half Harry Maguire from Leicester City. More signings were expected with major speculation around Bruno Fernandes and Paulo Dybala but neither came to light. Ole strongly stated after the humiliating 4-0 defeat at Goodison Park to Everton in April that some of the players on the pitch that day would not be at the club next season. Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling (who both started that day) have gone, Smalling albeit on loan. In addition, Ole has offloaded Alexis Sanchez on loan and Matteo Darmian.
Now, after a disappointing start to the 19-20 season, Ole is already placed under intense scrutiny from the press and United fans which is to be expected. However, the are four key reasons as to why he should definitely not be sacked and given all the time he needs to build his own team and make United a challenging team again:
- New manager coming in would face same problems. If Ole was to be sacked, United would simply be back to square one and even if the new manager coming lifted the spirits and got results, a few months down the line, he would have the same problems that are there now. The process we are in now would just be unnecessarily started again.
- Ole has made three signings of his own, all of which have impressed and will get better. James, Wan-Bissaka and Maguire have all shown they are able at this level and should only get better. Ole made it clear in the summer that he had several more signings in the pipeline but chose not to bring them to the club as they were not right for his project. Why sign a player who does not really want to be there or is signed because they are a ‘big name’? (Angel di Maria, Alexis Sanchez) These were mistakes made by previous managers.
- Ole has already cleared out players he does not want and is far from finished. His famous words following the Everton game in April have already rung true as he offloaded four players who, in all fairness, needed to be. Also, there are clearly players that are still at the club and even starting regularly whom Ole intends to offload. You cannot just get rid of all these type of players at once; you wouldn’t have a squad. It comes back round to the fact that the signings Ole wants are not there yet and these players have to play until then.
- Three managers have been sacked since Ferguson, maybe it’s time to stick with one?! Prior to his cup win in 1990, the great Sir Alex Ferguson was supposedly on the verge of the sack and the decision to not dismiss him was probably a good one! Obviously, United will perhaps feel more affection Solskjaer given his history at the club but nonetheless, he should be given time just like Ferguson had. Maybe Moyes should have been given more time and maybe van Gaal and Mourinho were unfairly sacked given the fact that they won trophies but there is no point dwelling on that now; United must look forward.
To sum it up, Ole has inherited an average team and not a side that is going to challenge for major honours. To put it into perspective, he hasn’t even been there a year yet. What are fans expecting? He has made three signings all of whom have made a positive impact and there are certainly more to come in the coming windows. Aside from the Everton game in April, Ole has protected his players when the media have pushed him in post match interviews and this is a squad that he clearly isn’t happy with. Ole must have the time to build his own team and philosophy and it could take a few years; but what is the alternative? If a new manager comes in, will he fix the problems that are there in the short-term as well as the long term any faster than Ole could? No, he couldn’t. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the manager of Manchester United and he needs support from his fans not calls for his head.