How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed Manchester United

How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has enjoyed the dream start as caretaker manager of Manchester United, winning all six of his games in charge so far.

The Norwegian has turned the Red Devils’ poor form upside down, as well as completely transforming the once gloomy mood around Old Trafford.

Six wins from six games has also seen United enter the race for fifth, and maybe even fourth. They are now level on points with Arsenal in fifth, and they’ll be targeting Chelsea in fourth, who are six points ahead as things stand.

United moved into that position following a hugely impressive win over Tottenham away from home on Sunday afternoon, on occasion that was meant to ‘properly test’ Solskjaer’s managerial ability.

And just like all of his reign so far, he didn’t disappoint. So, what has Solskjaer got so right in his time back at the club? How is he managing what Jose Mourinho and many before him failed to achieve?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United Bayern Munich 1999 Champions League Final

Smiles on face

One of the things always associated with Solskjaer is his ‘cheeky smile’ and it’s proved to be infectious at Manchester United. Results have helped, but his very arrival put smiles on the faces of the Old Trafford faithful.

They simply don’t know how to dislike Solskjaer after falling in love with the Norwegian over many years as a player.

His was appointed to cheer the place up, to change the mood around the place, and he’s certainly managed it.

The players seem happier, the fans are happier, and my goodness are we seeing the results. Six wins and perhaps more to come. Mourinho showed how difficult it can be with an unhappy club, but Solskjaer is now showing what can be achieved with a happy one.

Enjoying the game. Sometimes, it’s as simple as having fun.

Managers like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are intense, they are obsessive, demanding the very best down to the final detail. They put great demands on players to perform at their best whether it’s a training session or a game.

That can be exhausting and that’s why such managers often only last three to four years at one club before moving on.

Jose Mourinho

After working under the strict, demanding Mourinho, this United squad were on their knees, they needed a change and the results displayed that.

Solskjaer recognised that and he’s allowing these players to enjoy themselves. He hasn’t transformed it to Sunday League football, he still has to be demanding to a degree, but he hasn’t got that obsessive nature of the man who came before him.

He’s ensuring these players are enjoying their work and sometimes, particularly after tough times, it can be as simple as that.

Credit to Solskjaer for recognising that many of these players respond to this type of management, and he’s now enjoying the result of getting it right.

The litmus test

Solskjaer was both fortunate and unfortunate to have a kind fixture list to kick off his reign as manager.

On one hand, it helped him get off to a good start, ensured that by the time he got to a tough game, he had fans totally behind him and belief flowing through the veins of his players.

However, on the other hand, it meant whatever he achieved in those first five games, he wasn’t going to win over the critics.

United’s clash with Tottenham away from home on Sunday was billed as the litmus test for Solskjaer, the game we would finally discover what the Norwegian really had in his locker as a manager.It’s a test he passed, and with flying colours.

Manchester United Lingard Solskjaer

United put in a terrific away performance, riding their luck at times, but coming away from Wembley with all three points thanks to Marcus Rashford’s smart finish before the break.

So, now it’s six straight wins for Solskjaer and that includes one against a team in the top three and previously in form. The critics can no longer dismiss the Norwegian’s work.

Is he totally responsible? Is he a tactical genius? Other work during his management career would suggest not. Having a veteran of the coaching game in Mike Phelan by his side will certainly help.

But give credit where it’s due. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done a terrific job since arriving back at Old Trafford and his six results so far are all the proof you should need.


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