It was only seven months ago that Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in touching distance of winning silverware as manager of Manchester United. Now, he’s failing to inspire a lifeless situation after a 4-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.
With third and second-placed finishes in his first two full terms at the helm, it seemed that Solskjær was leading his team towards where they needed to be. However, after large investment and greater expectations, it was clear that the team needed to take the leap forward to becoming title challengers. Instead, they’ve taken large steps backwards in their pursuit.
The writing was on the wall when they were finally embarrassed by Leicester City after countless poor performances. It was then highlighted and put in bold after Liverpool’s 5-0 annihilation of the Reds at Old Trafford.
But Solskjær remained as manager. For what. One win against an equally uninspiring Tottenham, a lucky draw against Atalanta, and two more humiliating losses against Manchester City and Watford.
It’s gone from a situation where United was limping, to one where they’re laying face down on the ground, while their competitors are going from strength to strength. If anything, the extended period of time given to the Norwegian has only worsened the circumstances for both United and himself.
A man that could be remembered as one that helped claw United back towards the top is slowly turning into one that could be ripping up the blueprint for success at Old Trafford.
It may seem an over exaggeration, but battling it out for top four was the aim when the former-United striker took over, and it’ll be the same aim when he is relieved of his duties. And if United are unsuccessful, the future will be uncertain, and it will certainly impact the club in the coming years.Embed from Getty Images
I, for one, want to remember Solskjær fondly when looking back on his managerial stint at the club where he made his name as a player. Even though he didn’t get to lift a trophy, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been the man that guided United in the correct direction after stumbling post-Ferguson. But, the longer he’s in the job, the less of a chance that this will be how he’s remembered.
Harry Maguire chucking his armband on the floor after being shown red only shows that the manager is no longer backed, and while Bruno Fernandes tried to claim that the blame should be shared – it’s obvious that the situation will only worsen if the manager remains. The frustration of the players is clear, with David de Gea providing a scathing interview after defeat against Watford.Embed from Getty Images
“A club like Manchester United, we have to be fighting for trophies. To be honest, we are far from there. It was hard to watch the team playing today. It was nightmare after nightmare.
“I have been in difficult moments with this club but we are in a difficult situation – we don’t know what to do with the ball, we are conceding a lot of goals. It’s a horrible moment.”
It’s impossible to deny that the Norwegian has taken the club as far as he can. And, in fact, he’s now taking it backwards. If he was relieved of his duties last month there would’ve been a greater chance for a turnaround this season. That ship has well and truly sailed now.
It all comes back to the incompetency of the Manchester United board. It always does. Even if the inevitable does happen now, it’s too late and it has tarnished the job that Solskjær has done, while also halting the progression at the club.