Manchester United's Champions League heroics must land Solskjaer the job

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MAN UTD ARE BACK

The Manchester United manager position has been the subject of much speculation since Jose Mourinho was sacked, but now it looks like there's only one candidate to take the reigns at Old Trafford - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norweigan is a legend at Man Utd after enjoying a glittering playing career with the Red Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson and he's evidently taken some of the Scots advice on board in his new position.

The 46 year-old was a surprise choice to come in as the clubs interim boss before a full-time successor for Mourinho is appointed in the summer, but the unbelievable success of Solskjaer has made him the runaway favourite with odds of 1/9. Man Utd have won 14 of their 17 games since he returned to the club in December and it just looks like a matter of time before Ed Woodward and the board make his move a permanent one.

There's been a number of impressive results and performances under him but Wednesday nights win over PSG in Paris was one the great European nights in the clubs proud history. United battled against all the odds to somehow roll out 3-1 winners at the Parc des Princes to send the travelling support into delirium, whilst condemning the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Gianluigi Buffon and Neymar to yet another disappointing early Champions League exit.

Winning in Paris with a full strength side would've been classed as big achievement but to do it with 10 first team regulars missing - along with ending the 90 minutes with 6 players under the age of 23 - has made it so much more impressive. Solskjaer has brought Manchester United back seemingly from the dead and they'll be confident that they can beat anyone going into next Friday's UEFA Champions League draw.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER AS A PLAYER - COULD OLE DO IT AS MAN UTD MANAGER?

Manchester United are the biggest club in English (and possibly world) football but they haven't had things all their own way since the retirement of the great Sir Alex Ferguson. The Red Devils have gone 6 years without a Premier League title (coming in his final season) and now 11 without winning the UEFA Champions League. But Wednesday nights heroics in Paris signalled the biggest indication yet that times are changing at the club, with the feel good factor firmly returning to Old Trafford.

The boring, defensive, negative football that plagued the Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho eras looks like its finally left Manchester - instead replaced by incisive, fast counter attacking football which has always been associated with the club. The Manchester United players look like their enjoying their football again and we've seen a number of them really raise their game under the new man, with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot really coming of age.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the hero for United in 99, surely he can't guide them to another Champions League title, can he?

Working under a Man Utd legend must be a real privilege for some of the clubs younger players and they'll clearly feel that the sky is the limit, just like their manager does. After defeating PSG Solskjaer said "this is what we do... we can go all the way", a few months ago these kind of comments would've been laughed off - but now you have to take them seriously.

Defeating that star studded PSG team away from home is some statement to send out to the rest of the competition and United are more than capable of beating the other 3 sides who've booked their place in the quarter-finals. Tottenham, FC Porto and Ajax join United in already making it through, with the remaining four spots to be taken next week.

The draw for both the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League takes place in Nyon on Friday 15th March and everyone associated with the Red Devils will certainly be taking a keen interest. Events in Paris have seen Manchester United's odds to win the CL cut from 125/1 to 10/1 with bet365 - which again underlines what a massive result they pulled off.

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MANCHESTER UNITED SQUAD TRANSFORMED

When looking at the level of output from the current group of Manchester United squad it seems bizarre to think that they're the same players that featured under Mourinho. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting so much more out this talented group and he's really put emphasis on developing some of their terrific young players.

Marcus Rashford has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of his guidance, who as a Man Utd fan must find it a dream come true working under a legend. Rashford is the man Solskjaer has chosen to lead the line and be his no.9 and it seems crazy to think that he's just at the age of 21, such have been the level of performance and goals he's been delivering.

Added to that the extra game time afforded to the likes of Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay - they have a strong nucleus of talent to choose from which are only going to improve with more minutes. His hand was forced slightly on Wednesday in Paris with 10 first teamers unavailable through injury and suspension which led to Tahith Chong (19) and Mason Greenwood (17) even getting some minutes under their belts - which would've been a magnificent experience for them.

Manchester United FC have always been proud of their young players and academy graduates and OGS has proven that he's not afraid to throw them in at the deep end, which is great news for Man Utd fans and something which was rarely done under Mourinho.

David De Gea
Manchester United's recent transformation will surely have a big impact on David De Gea's contract talks

The injury struggles have led to new heroes emerging and one who's received a lot of stick during his time in Manchester is Romelu Lukaku, but he's living up to his massive price tag in prolific fashion. The bustling Belgian has netted a brace in each of his last 3 appearances for the Red Devils and is looking every bit like the striker they paid £75m for two seasons ago - another one reaping the rewards of Solskjaer's advice. Confidence is sky high amongst the Manchester United squad at the moment and they're a side that no one will want to face at the moment.

These impressive performances from players who struggled or couldn't get game time under the previous regimes will have given Solskjaer a welcome selection headache going into the home straight of the campaign - with the Red Devils firmly in the hunt for 2 major trophies. Competition for places is very healthy at the moment and with some top players set to come back from injury over the next few weeks, there's no reason why they can't end the campaign with silverware.

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