A closer look into Manchester United's permanent manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment
The news that was in the making for a couple of weeks has come true. Manchester United have given the job to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis on the back of impressive displays over a three month period. Let's take a look at what all went on and off the pitch that led to him being given the job.
The interim appointment:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed a caretaker manager until the end of the season by the United board after the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December. He was looked upon by pundits and ex-players as the right short term alternative who could mend the wounds and not go on scathing about the negatives that were inflicted by Mourinho.
Although he had no previous experience of managing any of the top clubs, he was seen as the right match for bringing back the feel-good factor of the old days at least until the club could go on looking for a suitable person for the permanent role.
The perfect start:
Ole's life as a United manager got off to a perfect start as United demolished Cardiff City 1-5 away from home in his first game in charge. United had managed to score five goals for the first time since the 5-5 draw at West Bromwich Albion in what was the final game of the Ferguson era.
Return of Pogba:
Paul Pogba was demoted to the bench in the last weeks of Jose Mourinho's time at the club due to a fall out between the two and his creative presence was severely missed in midfield. Solskjaer's first instinct was to bring back Pogba from the shadows and establish him as the talisman of his United side.
Victory against PSG:
After Solskjaer's first defeat in 11 games in charge, against PSG, the odds were stacked up against him. But the remarkable victory in the second leg saw them progress to the quarter-finals on away goals. This earmarked the chants around the club for him to be given the job on a permanent basis.
Such has been Ole's impact at United that if the Premier League table had been reset upon his appointment, United would actually be top right now. United had only managed 26 points from their first 17 games of the season under Mourinho.
It was the worst record of any of the Premier League's top six, trailing leaders Liverpool by 19 points, fourth place Chelsea by 11 points and even fifth place Arsenal by as many as eight. But their 32 points from Solskjaer's 13 games is better than Liverpool's 31 over 14 games.
All in all, United seem to have found a new lease of life under Solskjaer with the trio of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford thriving under the new manager. Everything seems to be going the United way at the moment and Solskjaer will definitely want to keep it that way.
The players have been given more freedom to express themselves and get on high in the pitch which is in contrast to the tight defensive line that was maintained under Mourinho. The mentality of attack attack attack has been welcomed with open arms by the players as well as the fans.
United fans will be hoping the club keep up their improved form under Solskjaer for the rest of the season, with the club still fighting for a top-four Premier League finish and still alive in the Champions League ahead of an upcoming quarter-final against Barcelona.