Manchester United’s defeat to Burnley felt like a pivotal moment.
It could mark the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager of Manchester United. If it does not happen right away, this defeat will be pointed to, when the inevitable does happen.
Solskjaer for now appears to still have the backing of the board. But pressure is piling up.
Mauricio Pochettino is out of work after his dismissal by Tottenham in November and he should be the man who United look at to lead a true rebuild.
He has demonstrated his ability to turn a team around and improve players.
Results are not good enough
The first aspect of Solskjaer’s job to consider is the results. And they are not good enough.
United have won only nine of 24 Premier League games this season. A truly woeful record.
At present the team are fifth in the league, but this is not a true reflection of the team. Let’s note that Burnley who beat us last night sit in 13th, just four points behind us now.
There have been flickers of progress at times. Players like Fred and Marcus Rashford have shown genuine improvement under Solskjaer. And wins over City and Tottenham in December were great moments.
But to look at the big picture, ever since Solskjaer was handed the job on a permanent basis, Manchester United have been a big disappointment.
United’s squad is weak, but it is also one Solskjaer said last summer he was happy with. And the results are on him as much as the board.
His post-match interview showed a defeated man. His time could be up.
Make the change now
There’s a fair argument that with Manchester United’s inept board, no manager will truly succeed.
But would Pochettino really do worse? With 2020 getting off to a terrible start under Solskjaer, United have to consider that another manager probably will do a lot better.
United’s players need a lift from somewhere, and a new boss with fresh ideas can make a difference.
A blueprint for success could be to look at Leicester last season, who made a change to sack Claude Puel and bring in Brendan Rodgers at the start of February.
Rodgers was able to use the time between February and May to start making progress and getting to know his players.
This enabled Leicester to get off to a strong start this season, and appointing Mauricio Pochettino now as opposed to in the summer, can help United further down the line.
A summer with international tournaments will also not help United if a change is made in the summer. It would give Pochettino less time to work with his new players.
That would be a further supporting argument to bringing him in now and start his rebuild right away, rather than waiting until mid-July.
Then there is the thorny issue of transfers. Who would want to join United right now?
Bringing in a new coach will brighten up the prospect of moving to Old Trafford for players, especially potential summer targets like Jack Grealish, who could easily look at Solskjaer’s United and consider a move is not in his best interests if the Norwegian remains in post.
If not Pochettino, then there is a proven winner out there in Massimiliano Allegri.
It is becoming increasingly obvious United need to do something different. The club cannot continue like this.
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