As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comes under mounting pressure once again, it begs the question; what can the Norwegian do to help turn things around in the short-term at Old Trafford? A new addition his coaching staff would be a good place to start.
Solskjaer is hardly eager to hide the fact that he models many of his attributes on ‘The Boss’, Sir Alex Ferguson. Aside from the trophies, arguably the Scot’s greatest trait was his ability to refresh, rejuvenate and stay with the times. He did that with changes to his coaching staff, to which he delegated a great deal of work.
Solskjaer must take inspiration from Ferguson’s coaches
Ferguson’s various assistant managers almost tell a story of the evolution of modern football. Archie Knox, who arrived with Ferguson from Aberdeen, played a role in stamping out United’s drinking culture. Brian Kidd, who helped to bring through the Class of ’92, was a legend of the club. Steve McClaren was the first to work with video analysis and psychology after Arsene Wenger’s arrival at Arsenal heralded a new style of management. Mike Phelan would become Fergie’s right-hand man in 2008 but before that it was Carlos Quieroz.
All of them provided Ferguson with something fresh and vital. It’s Quieroz’s delivering of hard truths and defensive acumen that would be useful at United now. He was disliked by a number of key players at United, including the captain Roy Keane, but respected by all for his input.
Keane furious at coach Quieroz but respected him
Keane once admitted that he wanted to ‘rip his head off’ but added that he “had a good relationship with him” and he was “an excellent coach”. Patrice Evra revealed that Quieroz “never smiles” but labelled his training sessions as “perfect”.
“When he left United, tactically it was not the same,” Evra said.
Solskjaer has clearly learnt a lot from Ferguson. It’s not helped him to avoid a miserable record of just four wins in 14 games this season at United. He must look to Ferguson’s choice of assistant managers and coaching staff and take inspiration.
New coach would help inexperienced Solskjaer
The appointment of an external candidate with serious elite experience of winning trophies and controlling dressing rooms would be an enormous help. If reports that Solskjaer is “safe” in his role at United despite results are true, the board will surely sanction such a move.
Suggestions that Solskjaer is ‘too nice’ are off the mark. But he is well-liked by his players. So too are Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna, Mark Dempsey and Mike Phelan. A coach to hand out some home truths, add some tactical awareness and winning pedigree would help an inexperienced manager to arrest a terrible run of form.
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