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Manchester United: Mission Impossible

by John Woz Jr, 10 days ago in premier league

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left the club after 4 defeats in 5 games.

Manchester United: Mission Impossible
Photo by Nat Callaghan on Unsplash

The fans connected with Manchester United can be forgiven for thinking the club is in turmoil. Old Trafford's managerial revolving door continues to spin, because on Sunday Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left the club. Three up and down seasons, and a recent terrible run of form made it impossible for Solskjaer to remain in the United dugout.

Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success. via manutd.com

A win and four defeats in five signalled the end for the former United striker. A negative goal difference and 15 goals conceded in five games is not what the Old Trafford faithful are accustomed to. It could have been worse for Solskjaer, had Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool not got bored after taking a 5-0 lead with 40 minutes left on the clock.

Managing excpetations adds to the list of worries for the new head coach

Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino are heavily linked with the vacant role. The Manchester Evening news reports Brendan Rodgers is the favourite to take over the hot seat. Whoever comes in to take on the mammoth task of rebuilding the side must acknowledge the wider problems within the club.

There are concerns at board level, because the Old Trafford hierarchy find themselves in the same position as they were in when Sir Alex Ferguson retired, almost a decade ago. Manchester United's executive suite have failed to find Sir Alex Ferguson's long-term successor.

Executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward is set to leave his post later this year. Per The Athletic, Woodward is not like by United's supporters.

Ed Woodward, has already been depicted in Red News, United’s longest-running fanzine, in a cartoon – “Avram Glazer and his Puppet” – that probably tells us a lot about his popularity, or lack of, among the club’s supporters. Woodward is superimposed on a ventriloquist’s dummy and perched on Glazer’s knee. His speech bubble reads, “It’s amazing you pay me £4 million a year, Mr Glazer. - via The Athletic

In 2004, Jose Mourinho won the league title with Chelsea at the end of his first year in charge. Mourinho's instant success is the exception, not the rule. It's irritating to see the lack of patience and understanding among Premier League clubs, but sometimes there’s no room for patience. Manchester United could have given Solskjaer all the time in the world, but he didn’t have the tactical acumen to add to United’s haul of silverware.

The problems on the pitch is where the Solskjaer's replacemnt must start his journey. Hiring a manager with an understanding of a club's DNA is fine, but the manager must have the ability to deal with the expectations of leading one of the world's biggest teams in every competition. Patience is the key ingredient in United's new chapter, because the new manager has a lot of work to do.

Sir Alex spent five years at Old Trafford before he won his first trophy in English football. Ferguson's brilliant mind, mixed with good signings and a superb crop of academy players helped United to power their way to 13 Premier League titles, two Europen Champions league titles, and 10 domestic trophies (not including the Community Shield).

United's academy graduates included Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers. Arguably all of those seven players could have walked into any club in the world. United had leaders in almost every position, from goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, to Frenchman, Eric Cantona. In the middle of the park, was the midfield general, Roy Keane.

In 2021, United don't have the balance of yesteryear. Paul Pogba does not have the same influence as Keane. There's no Giggs to run full backs from pillar to post. Harry Maguire's performances are below par of what is expecte at Old Trafford. Identity, or a lack of is another glaring problem.

The club might inherit a high calibre tactition, they they are leaderless on the pitch and United's young crop of players fall well short of the standards set by Giggs, Scholes et al.

Only Newcastle and Norwich have conceded more goals than David de Gea. The return of Cristiano Ronaldo is not the fairy tale everyone expected. Leaving Ronaldo out of the starting XI is another distraction for the new manager. The list of internal problems goes on.

Keeping pace with rivals Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea seems an impossible task at this stage of the season. Speaking of rivals, United's next league game is away to top-of-the-table Chelsea. Don't be surprised to see the new manager sat high in the stands of Stamford Bridge for Sunday's fixture. Thomas Tuchel's men could make it a long afternoon for Manchester United.

premier league

John Woz Jr,

John is a sports nut. He's a freelance journalist and long suffering soccer fan. He is a freelance writer, author, and mental health advocate. twitter @jwozniak16

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