Man Utd face major headache if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes top four while big names wait in wings

As Sir Alex Ferguson signed autographs, he looked over his shoulder at the acclaim the Stretford End was giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players.

The executive vice-chairman has been given plenty of stick over the last few months, but he was enjoying this.

Because it has all been his fault apparently — the tactics, the buys and the lack of youth coming through.

What people do not realise is that without his presence under the Glazer regime the place could seriously have gone to pot.

It was Woodward who told the Glazers they had to release the purse strings in the wake of Sir Alex’s departure after years of underinvestment in the squad.


For all the praise of Pep Guardiola and criticism of Jose Mourinho, the passing of the baton to the next boss was a much easier transition at the Etihad.

Woodward is now on his fifth manager but the next decision is the real big one and maybe the toughest one he will have to make.

Solskjaer has had an amazing start to his reign at Old Trafford, albeit against limited opposition.

But if Manchester United continue to play like this, get into the top four and maybe even the last four of the Champions League, what do you do?

The clamour for him to stay will be huge and he will want to carry on. The argument has been the three previous permanent managers did not ‘get’ Manchester United.

Solskjaer does, Mike Phelan does, they talk to Sir Alex, who most definitely did.

So if you clear them out and bring in Mauricio Pochettino, does that change? Tottenham’s Argentine will be under immediate pressure to get results.

How do they know Zinedine Zidane will understand the United way?

Or Laurent Blanc or Red Bull Leipzig coach Marco Rose?

Not only that, there are other demands on a United manager.
Talk to some fans and you would think that every player has to come through the academy.

But do you not think if they were good enough Mourinho would have played them?

Let us not forget the Portuguese invented a new manager’s Player of the Year award at the end of season dinner to acclaim Scott McTominay.

Someone who is yet to figure under Solskjaer.

The question is whether Solskjaer is good enough for the Premier League, as he proved not to be at Cardiff.

Games against Spurs, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Liverpool will provide better answers.

But it is all about what Manchester United want.

With Solskjaer they have a continuance of the Fergie ethos. Looking back, you have to wonder if Ryan Giggs, with Phelan and Rene Meulensteen, would have been a better fit in the wake of David Moyes.

If, as Solskjaer says, the DNA of the club is in the walls of Carrington and Old Trafford then you need people in charge who helped to cement it there.

Otherwise you are just another club. Another club that changes managers, chases glory, but ends up walking on sand.

That is what United have been doing for the last five years.

Still, the seismic effect of Sir Alex leaving should not be underestimated in assessing the eras of Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho.

If they had simply carried on what the Scot had been doing then he would not have been that special after all.

He was, not least in his final season when he got a title out of a team that was past its best.

Fergie took the genius that brought glory to Old Trafford with him in his head.

There was no database left behind, no manual, no clues.

But Solskjaer experienced it, took notes and Phelan was part of it.

Which is why maybe, just maybe, they, in the long run, will be the best fit for this club.

To Newcastle today and further proof.

MAN UNITED (likely): De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Lingard, Lukaku, Martial.

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