Not so long-ago Manchester United’s season was in ruins. Dogged by personality clashes and a manager believing he was bigger than the club itself, Utd were heading for a mid-table finish really unheard of for a club of their size and with the squad of players they possess.
The appointment of one of the club’s favourite sons, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has so far gone some way to repairing a fractured club. Having been appointed caretaker manager, the potential to made permanent at the end of the season, Solskjaer has already brought the feel-good factor back to Old Trafford after just a handful of games.
He has faced just one defeat as Red Devils boss and has managed to get much more out of the same squad of players at Jose Mourinho’s disposal. Mourinho’s often public criticism of under-performing players was definitely not the United way and you can be sure Solskjaer would deal with player imperfections behind closed doors.
There was and will still be a huge call for the club to appoint Mauricio Pochettino in the summer, a manager who teams play the right way and would fit very well into the mould at Old Trafford.
Should Solskjaer manage to almost achieve the impossible and get the club into the top four and Champions League football for 2019/20, then there might be a few difficult conversations to be had at boardroom level.
The challenge from both Arsenal and Chelsea will not make the task any easier and if Solskjaer is the man to steady the ship and leave it in a better condition than what he inherited, Utd fans would be more than grateful.
With the great run he has already put together to keep the club in with a shout of the top 4, that will need to be maintained for another three months or rely on those above them wobbling and stuttering on a regular basis.
What Solskjaer has done is to get more from those who for whatever reason not performing under Mourinho.
Paul Pogba is now beginning to look worth the huge fee United shelled out for him, Marcus Rashford is revelling in a role up top to get the best out of him and there are signs the defenders are coming to terms with trying to keep clean sheets or at least not letting the opposition have free rein within the penalty area as most have been used to this season.
What might define United’s season and possibly Solskjaer’s career as manager of the Old Trafford outfit comes this month, as in successive games the club face Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Liverpool in three different competitions.
Each game is as important as each other, beat PSG would put some icing on an already impressive managerial cake, knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup would push the team a step closer to a Wembley final appearance and to put the skids under great rivals Liverpool’s title ambitions would cap a turnaround month for the North West giants and something most supporters wouldn’t have dreamed possible a few weeks ago.
Whatever happens for Utd and Solskjaer after the season ends, Utd fans will glad their team is back playing their way after some much troubled times and can once again look forward to taking their place back in the top 4, even if they have to wait a little longer.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
Like O-Posts on Facebook
You can also follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts