Nevin BrownAll materialsManchester United is a team in crisis. The club entered the season with sky-high expectations, but a string of poor results has United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on the precipice of a sudden and dramatic exit. Manchester United’s board of directors are reportedly split over whether to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of their 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. While the board has currently opted to retain Solskjaer, his future appears to be on thin ice.
Old Trafford Has Fallen: Liverpool Desecrate Manchester United on Hallowed Ground24 October, 20:28 GMTAccording to reports, Solskjaer will manage United against Tottenham over the weekend, but that match is the only one he is guaranteed to oversee. It has been suggested that his future will be decided by United’s next three fixtures, which will see the club face Tottenham and Atalanta on the road before hosting intra-city rival Manchester City.
Adding to the pressure are reports that top players at United have lost faith in Solskjaer’s tactics and management, with the slow development of chemistry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood, two of United’s standout performers this season, chief among them.
The club will reportedly use the November international break after United’s match with Manchester City as Solskjaer’s effective judgment day. The hope is that United will win all three matches and reassert that Solskjaer is the right man for the job. But even three victories could see him out of a job if performances do not improve.
After Manchester United’s Loss to Aston Villa, Will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Make it Through November?27 September, 20:54 GMTAcross 13 matches this season, if games ended in the 80th minute, United would have had two wins, eight draws, and three losses, instead of the six wins, two draws, and five losses they have.While United have salvaged more results than they have lost in the last ten minutes of matches, they have done this facing a relatively easy slate of opponents. Their lone match against a top club, Liverpool, ended in a blood bath.
Part of United’s reluctance to pull the trigger on a Solskjaer firing is their board’s split opinion of Antonio Conte, who appears to be next in line, if Solskjaer is dismissed. It has been reported that in 2018, when United brought Solskjaer in to be a caretaker manager, the hierarchy at United identified three preferred managerial candidates in Julian Naglesman, Thomas Tuchel, and Mauricio Pochettino.In the three years since, all three managers have found new homes at Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint-Germaine. All three clubs have far better prospects than United, making their services nearly impossible to secure. Another hold-up for the club in pursuing Conte is United’s commitment to a cultural reset following the highly-toxic departure of Jose Mourinho. Conte is known for his fiery intensity, which contrasts with Solskjaer’s more laid-back demeanor.
The United board has been pleased with the culture that Solskjaer has installed at United, even if the results have lagged behind. However, it appears that Solskjaer’s vibe alone won’t be enough to regain trust. If results don’t turn around, they’ll have no choice but to turn to Conte.