Why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the best Manchester United manger since Sir Alex Ferguson 

Solskjaer has massively improved the reds since he took over
Solskjaer has massively improved the reds since he took over
Sam Curran

Even nearly 3 years into his reign, there are still some who doubt whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man for Manchester United. His critics point to the fact that he’s still not won a trophy as United boss, bottling the Europa League final against Villarreal last season. He’s also been criticized for not managing to mount a serious title challenge during his time at the club, though United did briefly threaten to be title contenders last season. Some of these criticisms are justified, but Solskjaer is easily the best manager United have had since Fergie.

Significant change and progess under Solskjaer

There are several reasons why that it is true, the first being just how much Ole has improved United since he first took over in November 2018. At that point, United had just dispensed of the services of a toxic Jose Mourinho and seemed to be lost, with no real leaders or quality in the squad. Taking advantage of the new manager's bounce, Solskjaer won his first eight away games in a row, something even Fergie never achieved and finished 6th in the league. They also somehow knocked PSG out of the Champions League before eventually succumbing to Barcelona.

The back four Solskjaer fielded against Barcelona at the Nou Camp was Young, Valencia, Smalling and Jones. Three of those are no longer at the club whilst Jones never gets a game. United’s first choidefensence now is Shaw, Maguire, Varane and Wan Bissaka. Solskjaer bought three of these and Luke Shaw has been transformed under Solskjaer, going from being out of shape under Mourinho to one of the best full backs in the world. Ever since his arrival, Solskjaer has skilfully changed the playing staff, getting rid of the players with massive egos and salaries (Lukaku and Sanchez) and replacing them with quality players who want to play for Man Utd (Fernandes, Maguire, Sancho, Wan Bissaka etc.). Through his transfer dealings, Solskjaer has transformed United from struggling to get in the top four to genuine title contenders. United have improved under Solskjaer whereas they stagnated badly under Mourinho, Moyes and Van Gaal.

Attacking style of play restored

Solskjaer has finally got the club to play attacking football, in line with the traditions of the club, the ‘United way’. There is an emphasis on pace, wingers and promoting exciting young talent (such as Greenwood and Rashford) which is very much the blueprint which Sir Alex used to achieve success. United are actually enjoyable to watch again, which they certainly weren’t under Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho. Moyes’ reign was a disaster whilst Van Gaal and Mourinho bored the fans half to death with their oppressively negative style of football. United have even restarted their habit of comeback victories, which was a trademark under Sir Alex. If United went a goal down under Van Gaal and Mourinho you know there would be no response whereas when Solskjaer’s men go a goal behind this seems to spark them to reach another level which blew teams away at time last season.

Success Man-management of a difficult squad

Ole has been criticized for being too nice, often portrayed as a timid character. This doesn’t seem to tally with how ruthlessly he got rid of players who he knew didn’t fit his vision. However, he certainly has better man management skills than Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho. Moyes insulted great players, Van Gaal treated them like kids and (just as he always does) Mourinho fell out with several players at the club. United under Ole have looked a lot more settled and it says a lot that he’s improved several players since he took over. Under his watch Shaw has developed into one of the best full-backs in the world, Rashford is finally filling his potential and Fred and McTominay have really gone up a level. He’s even managed to successfully manage Paul Pogba's huge ego.

Whilst Solskjaer may not have won a trophy like Mourinho, Van Gaal and even Moyes (if you count the Charity Shield), he has improved United massively and finally got them playing in a way they should be playing. With the signings of Sancho and Varane, he should at least win a trophy this season and it would be no surprise to see the Norwegian finally bring the title back to Old Trafford one day.

Edited by Arnav Kholkar


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