Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look to build on a perfect start as Manchester United manager with a win over Bournemouth at the weekend.
Just a week in the job after replacing José Mourinho, Solskjaer has seen his players win back-to-back games convincingly, scoring eight goals in those two matches against Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town.
However, Bournemouth are expected to put up a fight against United at Old Trafford. They’re no pushovers like Cardiff and Huddersfield and the recent 5-0 defeat against Tottenham didn’t reflect accurately on the performance. They weren’t great but it did seem like everything went in for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
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Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are getting closer to their return date with Solskjaer issuing a challenge to both attackers by insisting that he can only do so much and they must take responsibility to produce the goods when given an opportunity.
“I’m here to help them, guide them on the path, and then it’s up to them to do it on the pitch,” he is quoted as saying on Sky Sports. “It’s up to them when they get a chance. You’ve got to do it yourself.
“I give them some guidelines. There’s been loads of talk about freedom of expression, but that’s how I’ve always been as a manager.
“You can’t tell all the players what to do. They are here for a reason – they are good players. It’s up to them to use their imagination, creativity and enjoy playing for this club, because that is the best time of your life. It’s not a bad time being a manager either, for a little while.”
As a footballer, Solskjaer could read a game from the bench and make an instant impact when brought on as a substitute. He became known for it during his time at Old Trafford and it’s only right that he expects his stars to do the same, making it clear they must earn their place in the team.
Sensible management style even if it does leave Solskjaer vulnerable in that if his player don’t perform at the level they’re capable of, it could slam back in the Norwegian’s face.
Proving his work ethic to his followers online, Sanchez has been sending messages to Solskjaer of his individual training regime. We shall see if it makes him a better player in the upcoming games.
Moreover, Solskjaer knows how to talk to United players. He expects the best and that is what makes this mini chapter so very exciting.
Meanwhile, the interim boss praised Paul Pogba, who has impressed in both games under Solskjaer.
“I think Paul is a top, top player,” Solskjaer said, as per ESPN. “He’s one of the best, the top, top players in the world. He’s been top class and we’re looking to build a team around him of course but there are so many quality players.”
A slightly different tune to the one we heard from Mourinho these past few months.