Has Ole improved the United Squad?

2020 has been a roller coaster year for football and specifically Manchester United football club. There has been many great moments this year such as hammering Leeds 6-2. But Ole still has more to improve in order for United to challenge for the title.

2018/19 campaign.

Manchester united appoint Ole as caretaker manager on the 19th December until the end of the 18/19 season. Following the departure of Jose Mourinho. However, Solskjaers first obstacle as interim manager was to create a positive mentality to the players. Due to the players low spirit after their poor placement in the league. Despite not transforming the squad to a team that can pressurize top opposition, he was able to restore confidence. On his first game in charge he became the first manager to bag five or more goals pass a Premier League side post the Sir Alex Ferguson Era.

During his time as caretaker manager, he won 14 out of the 19 games with only 2 draws. After his trail period the board awarded Ole with the job permanently. Therefore the future of this great club are in the hands of Solskjaer as he signs a new three year contract. Since taking on the managerial responsibilities, the public and pundits have been targeting him doubting his experience.

A memorable moment from his early reign was the historic comeback against PSG finishing 3-1, after trailing 2-0 in the first leg. Nonetheless, United are still in the game after two first-half goals from Lukaku. Although, a dramatic 94th minute penalty that var gave and a stunning strike by Rashford secured the victory. Resulting in progression to the quarter-finals of the UEFA champions league on away goals.

United concluded the 18/19 season with a 2-0 defeat at home against relegated Cardiff. Opening the debate it being the perfect summary to the last ten months as it was the fourth time in six seasons that United end a season outside the top four. Topping of the campaign, United finished 32 points behind Manchester city, which was a major decline from the previous season.

Transfer activity.

Solskjaer made his expectations of the club clear when he publicly warns the players that some may leave. He says: “I will be successful here. There are players here that won’t be a part of that.” Highlighting the immediate changes and the disappointment in some players attitudes.

Many fans were left shocked by the unexpected departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez was unable to perform for Manchester United under Ole’s tactics and later found himself on loan to Inter Milan. As a result, he later joined Inter permanently on a free transfer in the summer. Arguably, the most high profile outgoing was Lukaku joining Antonio Conte in 2019 for a fee approximately 80 million.

Lukaku told Sky: “I think I had to rediscover myself. Last year was difficult for me on the professional side because stuff was not as I wanted and I was’t playing as well. I wasn’t performing and I wasn’t playing, it was best for both sides to go separate ways. I think i made the right decision. Manchester United have made spaces for the younger players to come through so it a win-win situation for both of us.”

Another two United players that joined Inter Milan were Darmian and Young.

Despite Chris Smalling departure not being as high profile, his exit from the club was crucial in rebuilding the team. As a result, Solskjaer was able to bring in Harry Maguire to strengthen the structure and quality of United’s defence. He spent the 2019/20 season on loan with Roma before agreeing to sign a permanent deal for a fee around 23 million Euros.

Effective transfers pay off for Ole

From the moment Ole arrives at the club he emphasises that he isn’t happy with the United side and wants to change the team.

Harry Maguire

With Young joining Milan in January, Solskjaer had a vital choice to make regarding the future Reds’ captain and believed that Maguire suited that role. During the match against Norwich, Maguire earned his third goal in the 118th minute which secured the club with a place in the semis of the FA cup.

In a statement Ole said: “He’s come in and everything about him tells me he’s a leader. He’s part of a group that we’ve had, that have been leading this young group.” Not only that, Maguire is a player who can be relied on to deliver at vital moments.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Any defender would find it challenging to match the pace of Raheem Sterling but Wan-Bissaka makes it look easy, winning four tackles, twelve out of fourteen duels and making eight recoveries all while not being dribbled past. A performance that secured a 2-0 victory over our neighbours.

Daniel James

Dan James scored the equaliser in the 89th minute but Palace were able to find the winner due lack of defending. On his debut in front of the Stretford end and scored just seven minutes after coming off the bench. He has racked up five goals and seven assists in his first 18 months at Old Trafford. While it has been stop-start, he is an excellent squad player that still has a lot to learn.

Bruno Fernandes

Since Fernandes sealed his move in January, he has contributed to over half of the 60 Premier League goals that United have scored. Furthermore, he has been influential for the club with eighteen goals and thirteen assists. Also, Lewandowski and Messi are the only players with more direct goal contributions in Europe’s top five Leagues. A bargain for £46m undoubtedly!

Ole pushes for more this Summer:

Edinson Cavani

Cavani has scored three goals for United in just two starts, managing to score more goals than Martial who has started ten games this season. Cavani joining United will impact the club massively. With him being there the young forwards can learn how to time their runs more effectively.

Donny van de Beek

After being outpriced in a deal for Jack Grealish, Ole had a chat with Donny Van De Beek and signed the Dutchman this summer for £35m. Solskjaer said: “His ability to see space, time his movements and read the game will really compliment the qualities that we have in midfield and his arrival with strengthen the depth we have in that area”

Before joining Manchester United he contributed to ten goals and eleven assists in just thirty-seven games.

Alex Telles

Telles joined Manchester United at the end of the summer and has made 10 appearances for Solskjaer in all competitions. He made his debut for the Reds in there victory against PSG to kick of their Champions League run. Although, many fans remained impressed with his performances so far, he is still not guaranteed a regular starting place.


Personally, I believe that since Ole’s appointment, he has had a clear vision on what he thinks will improve the squad. The signings he made in these two years have made significant impacts to the team. However, if Solskjaer was successful in signing his targeted players the development would have been more significant. During the two year in charge United were able to get to three semi-finals (FA cup, Carabao Cup and the Europa League), but didn’t have the strength to get over the line. United are second place in the league and level on points with Liverpool after a 2-1 win against Aston Villa yesterday. In comparison to last season, in which United were fifth, 22 points behind the league leaders and nine points worse off after 16 games.

Author: Stacey Marsh