Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell as manager at Old Trafford has been driven by a desire to get back to the ‘Manchester United way’.
After the way Jose Mourinho left United in 2019, Solskjaer was a breath of fresh air.
But there is a feeling Solskjaer has hit the wall and can take United no further.
After finishing second last season United seem to be in for a struggle simply to match that achievement, when supporters want more.
Solskjaer’s future is secure in the short-term, but it is dependent on results. The Times reports he risks losing the faith of the fans with a loss to Liverpool this weekend.
What comes next after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is very unclear. And there is one man who divides opinion more than most.
Antonio Conte a short term winner
In terms of CV, Antonio Conte has been there and done it. He has won titles in Italy with Juventus and Inter Milan, and also in the Premier League with Chelsea.
He also has a reputation as a short-term manager, similar to Jose Mourinho, and there are arguments against him due to a poor Champions League record and a reliance at Inter on veterans rather than youth, and his preferred 3-5-2 formation also divides opinion.
But it may get to a stage where Solskjaer has to be replaced, and United will have to make a decision on Conte, who is available for work.
Italian outlet Calciomercato report Conte to United links are gathering pace.
One factor in Conte’s favour is the opinion of Sir Alex Ferguson. The great Scot has huge influence at United, and fortunately for Conte, he has already caught his eye.
Sir Alex hailed Conte’s side’s ‘identity’
Quoted by Sky Sports in 2017, Ferguson praised Conte’s and his Chelsea side.
The Scot said: “Fantastic, you see his energy on the pitch. There’s a true saying that the team mirrors the manager, and that’s what they’ve done with him.”
That is one positive you do get with Conte. The former Juventus midfielder has a clearly defined style, system, and he makes sure his players buy into it.
Solskjaer’s United lack identity
While Solskjaer has done a pretty good job of team building over the past two years, adding in a variety of talented players via the transfer market, the team still lack an identity on the pitch.
United have struggled to put together cohesive performances this season, and this goes back into the end of last season too.
The team is accused of relying on individual brilliance from the players, rather than utilising a collective quality.
If the decision is made to dispense with Solskjaer at some stage, then the next manager needs to have a clearly defined style of play, and a system on and off the ball.
Whether Conte gets the nod will remain an area of debate, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s assessment will certainly count in his favour.
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