Manchester United’s name sells, and so too does baseless speculation over the manager’s future.
The MEN claimed earlier this season United had contacted Mauricio Pochettino over the job. This proved to be a red herring. Earlier this month BILD reported United admired now fired PSG boss Thomas Tuchel.
Ian Wright came up with the ludicrous suggestion United needed Mikel Arteta to challenge for the title. Arsenal currently sit 13th.
Meanwhile Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quietly manoeuvred Manchester United up to second place in the table.
We say quietly, because while players may get the praise, you won’t hear much in the media praising the job Solskjaer and his staff have done.
Many in the media have already made up their minds on Solskjaer. They say he lacks the experience for a big job like United, and has no experience winning major trophies. Well, give him time, and he may just surprise you.
Solskjaer has led United to four semi-finals in the past year. While there are legitimate questions to be asked about losses in three of them, and a fourth against City will be tough, sooner or later United will overcome that hurdle.
In the Premier League, United have made progress. Liverpool have taken a step back, and Solskjaer’s United have a chance to capitalise.
The consistency United have shown is impressive. If the team lose a game, which is rare in the league, the team are able to dust it off and bounce back. Solskjaer does not let the criticism get to him, which is to his credit, as it has been intense at times.
United sitting second in the league may cause a few pundits and national journalists to take stock and change their minds on Solskjaer – or at least be more open minded.
He has not proven anything just yet, but he has put United in a position to succeed. Many expected him to have been sacked by now. The board have shown patience, and it may pay off.
It can still go wrong of course. A poor 2021 could easily see Solskjaer’s United drop out of the top four and that would provide more questions over his job, but right now you would fancy United to secure one of those spots, and a title challenge is even being talked about.
Despite this strong position United are in, and the spectre of a title battle upon us, praise for Solskjaer is rare, and the media often refer to him like the team sit in 12th position.
That’s part of the nature of the pressure of the United job, and Solskjaer can handle it better than most without getting rattled. He doesn’t need appreciation, and it could be a distraction – but it would be nice to see 2021 become the year the United manager finally gets the respect he deserves, from some of the club’s own supporters as well as the media.
He has to continue to earn it of course, a job is only half done, but it is hard to ignore the position Solskjaer has put United in. He has beaten a number of big name bosses in the process, and is now in his position at the club on merit. He deserves this chance to attempt to see it through.
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