The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer project

Put aside your opinions on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for a moment. Forget why you support him, forget why you don’t think he is the right man for the job. Ignore the tactical deficiencies, the poor substitutions and the big wins against the likes of Man City and PSG. Whatever you think – I believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer winning an extension to his tenure can only be a good thing for Manchester United’s future endeavours and it goes beyond whatever he has, or will in the future, achieved.

Something is being built at Manchester United, an identity returning to a proud club that lost its way following the retirement of its greatest icon. It’s not necessarily a single person’s fault, every manager has their own style that they need to impose upon any club they take charge of.

People like Louis van Gaal are more old school, Jose Mourinho appears more authoritarian and David Moyes perhaps tried too hard to be strict and impose himself. Then there’s the crossover of players from each regime and the difficulties in the required turnover as the not-quite-good-enough are shipped out for the fancied. As each departs, the man taking the mantle has issues to correct. It’s a recipe for disaster.

The constant changing simply repeats the cycle, there’s no time for settling and consistency and no project to put forward to prospective signings, so stability and long-term backing of a manager can only be a good thing. And this is where Solskjaer comes in, and the ignorance of what’s happened on the pitch is paramount.

It is important to note that this school of thought is relevant to any one of the previous 3 managers, but gains more credence when you consider Solskjaer’s history at United and what he has done off the pitch in most areas. Had Jose Mourinho been as revelatory in transfers (e.g.) as Solskjaer, this could easily be referencing him, similarly LvG, but neither were.

Raphael Varane is the best example you could wish to find to prove this point. He doesn’t want to join a side like Arsenal – where a trophy has been won more recently than at United – as they can flatter to deceive at times. He wants to join a project, a side looking at sustained success rather than a flash-in-the-pan FA Cup every 3 years. This assurance only comes when there is evidence to back it up and clear progress to show an upward trajectory. This isn’t to say trophies DON’T matter, but sometimes you have to lose to win.

Patience is something synonymous with Manchester United.

There have been plenty of periods throughout time where a cluster of managers have come and gone, and then one stays longer term and reaps the fruits of their own labour. Longer term can be anywhere from 5 years, to 25, but it takes a certain fit to earn the luxury of time. We all have our preferences for who should be in charge of United, but unless things go badly wrong is it worth tearing up all of the excellent, hard work that has been put into this last 18/24 months in pursuit of instant success?

Sacking another manager simply means starting this process all over again, an operational standard that works at manufactured clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, but one that has been proven time and again to fall flat on its arse at Manchester United due to the club’s traditions and DNA.

This isn’t a case of OleIn or OleOut, but one of ManagerIn, build for success.

Read more: Manchester United defender set to join Hull City on season-long loan

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  1. Love this article. But more than that love the manager. He will succeed with the necessary backing.

  2. Varane isn’t joining a project, he’s joining a cash cow. At 28 this is probably his last big move so he wants a big contract. Fortunately for United he can be a great player but, on the contrary, he isn’t averse to the occasional big mistake.
    As for Solskjær, I don’t understand why a serial loser such as him has been given a new contract. Even with the squad he had it should have been possible to win at least ONE of FOUR semi-finals and, when he eventually managed it, it should have been possible to beat Spain’s SEVENTH best team! If Solskjær is so good off the pitch then make him Director of Football because, on the pitch, he hasn’t a clue!

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