Nobody said it was going to be easy, nor did anybody say that it was a problem that can be fixed overnight. But there has to be a balance with how Manchester United are managed over the next 12 months in terms of points on the board while sticking to a philosophy that can reclaim some of the club’s best moments.
The new campaign might have just started, in which the Red Devils have won one, drawn two and lost the other, but the Norwegian manager’s problems date back from end of March, where the club slipped into darkness and failed miserably to land a top four place.
It was always going to take a summer transfer window or two for Solskjær to clear out the players that are not suitable for the club, as well as bringing in fresh faces that can revitalise the squad.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James have all started magnificently for the Red Devils, but once again, there was more to be done in the centre of the park that has been left by the wayside.
In the Premier League, spanning back to mid-April, Solskjær’s team have only won one game in their last nine matches – a record that is rightly causing major concern for the Old Trafford faithful. Which is why it is no surprise to see Ladbrokes offer odds of 6/1 for the Norwegian to become the next manage to leave his post.
With the recent news of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial suffering injuries, as well as Wan-Bissaka being a potential doubt, Solskjær is now under more scrutiny coming into his squad’s next match against Leicester City.
Priced at evens with Betfair to take the three points and 5/2 with William Hill for a draw, the Red Devils’ fans will be thinking the worst and go into this game with very little confidence – which will reverberate around the stadium.
It would be unfair to be overly critical of the Norwegian given what he has been given, but perhaps there are questions to be asked surrounding his in-game management. Mason Greenwood, United’s most exciting academy prospect, has had a string of cameo performances in the opening four matches, but has already shown his promise when in the final third.
Leaving the England U-21 international on the bench until the 80th minute is not protecting him, but instead restricting his rhythm of these matches that he has the potential to influence.
Greenwood, who is 2/1 with Bet365 to score at any time throughout the match against Leicester, is expected to play down the right-hand side and finally give United some impetus down the flank that has been non-effective for half a decade. In pre-season, against Inter Milan, the young forward delivered a wonderful performance in which he was on the scoresheet.
And so, Solskjær needs to be brave when either selecting his starting 11 or making changes in the second-half to make a difference on the game. It has been clear to see the Norwegian’s plan of bringing through young and hungry players, but this plan will not see the end of its reign if Solskjær is removed by the club’s hierarchy; which is the reason why there needs to be a balance and making sure objectives are not compromised.
The Red Devils are offered at 6/5 with BetVictor to make the top four this season, but they have an awful lot of improving to do between now and May should that come to fruition. With the lack of quality depth and squad additions, injuries are likely to be the club’s downfall, which will become crystal clear with how they perform against Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
What Solskjær is attempting to do deserves time, but modern football permits no one to warrant it without results. If this form continues and Christmas arrives, Manchester United might just be back to square one.