|Image from Bleacher Report’s Facebook Page|
I think every United fan will agree that it has felt so good having Ole at the wheel. His record of results and philosophy of play since taking charge at Old Trafford just before Christmas has been exemplary. He is yet to taste defeat in the Premier League and he remains on track to take the club all the way in the FA Cup final already beating the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea in the competition. The only blemish on his record to date was the home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League. Given the quality of opponent in that game, it would harsh to suggest that result alone should detract from the fantastic work the Norwegian has done since coming in as caretaker boss.
The transformation of the team and the club as a whole has not only been visible by improved performances on the pitch. It can be seen in the stands, on social media and amongst supporter groups. United fans believe this is the closest the club has come to seeing their club play the Busby way since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. United fans are delighted to see their club rediscover its identity which has been lost over the last 5 and a half years through a series of managerial appointments that just didn’t quite match with the club’s philosophy.
Righty or wrongly so, some United supporters still have reservations about giving Solskjaer the job on a full time basis either now or in the summer. One thing for sure is, if this feel-good factor continues at the club until May, regardless of whether or not the Norwegian legend wins a trophy and/or finishes in the top four this becomes almost an impossible job for any other manager in world football. Any potential manager would have to do almost everything that Solskjaer has done to justify their appointment and to convince the United faithful. As we look in to Solskjaer’s success so far it becomes apparent just what a daunting challenge it would be for any manager replacing Ole this coming summer.
To begin with, Solskjaer has set the bar very high in terms of results. United have taken 29 points from a possible 33 in the league and after their 3-1 victory away to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night they have won eight consecutive away games for the first time in the history. Amassing a points total like that at the start of next season would be some act to follow.
As mentioned earlier, the style of play is something that has made United fans purr as it’s the closest they have come to seeing the team play the “United way” in a long time. The team are approaching every game with an attacking intent, looking to score plenty of goals and believing they can win every game. After the win against Tottenham at Wembley in January, Gary Neville said that Manchester United should not appoint any manager that is not prepared to play and follow the traditions of the football club. Would a new coach be prepared to sacrifice their own philosophy and be capable of adopting our style of football? Three very good managers before Ole refused and paid the price for it.
Under previous managers, supporters have always debated whether certain players in the squad are good enough to play for United or whether unsuitable tactics from those previous regimes were to blame for the lack of form and confidence. Improved performances of individuals such as Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to name a few has been so noticeable. This has come from a respect shown that only a club legend like Solskjaer could demand. He is a manager that believes in every player in the squad and he has given them all the freedom to play and express themselves. Any change of leadership could see the dynamics of the squad affected and no guarantees that that there would be the same positive relationship between the coaching staff and all of the players as there is right now.