Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shown to be the manger he really is

Make or break month

December was a make or break month for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and as we approached January, we finally got a taste of what the Norwegian can bring to the club.

In December, Solskjaer perfected the United-esque counter-attack against Manchester City and executed a well-drilled performance against Tottenham Hotspur. This came at a time where the United boss was well and truly being questioned by the fans, and Solskjaer replied by outwitting Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in the same week.

These performances showed what the hero of ‘99 could bring to the helm. Speed, tenacity, more speed, counter-attacking brilliance and even more speed in the attack; these performances were as great as a United fan could have hoped for.

Plastering over the cracks

However, a month on and with just seven points from the next 15 available, Solskjaer has once again been thrown into the crosshairs. And now, this is starting to look like a worthless, dreadful cycle.

On Tuesday, the 46-year-old could not keep up with Guardiola, nor could he adjust to anything the Spaniard brought to Old Trafford. Ultimately, it was a masterclass from the City boss and a disasterclass from the home manager.

After the game, Solskjaer expressed to reporters how the first half was the worst they have played all season. It was. But it was also largely down to his mediocre tactics and predictable approach. Did Solskjaer really think the great Guardiola would fall for the same trick twice? 

City add a nail in the coffin

This time, the counter-attack was simply not working. Daniel James and Marcus Rashford were starved up top, whilst Andreas Periera and Jesse Lingard could barely breathe before the City midfield pounced on them.

Eventually, Solskjaer acted and brought off Lingard to throw in Nemanja Matic for the second half, which instantly changed things for United. The home team were well in the game after the Serbian’s introduction and even won the second 45 thanks to a Rashford goal. So, why did it take the United boss so long to change something? Why did Solskjaer think he could just turn up and do the same against one of the best? Why do United keep thinking he will change?

'The United way'

It is all well and good that Solskjaer knows ‘the United way’, but implementing it is an entirely different subject. Adjusting and bringing something different to the table is what separates the good from the great. The winners from the losers. And, the Guardiola from the Solskjaer.

Too many times has the former Cardiff boss been predictable and easy to play against, and against City was the most honest showing of his managerial capabilities to date. Previously, if there was anything he has been able to cling onto, it was the points picked up against the ‘Big Six’. Chelsea, Spurs, Leicester City and their neighbours have all fallen to defeats against the Norwegian this season, and they remain the only team in the country to take points off Liverpool so far.

But, as Guardiola proved, if you adjust and suffocate their counter-attack, the Red Devils quickly show their true colours and become what they are – tactically inept.

Pochettino in?

At the end of the day, can United afford to keep this ‘plan’ continuing, whilst Mauricio Pochettino is sat at home twiddling his thumbs? The Argentine rebuilt Spurs into genuine title contenders and Champions League regulars from a Europa League standard. Ultimately, Pochettino took the Lilywhites from a similar position to where United are now.

It’s time for him to do the same at Old Trafford. Solskjaer has been found out too many times and now that he has lost to a ‘Big Six’ side twice within a week, the United manager has nothing else to cling onto.

Free Bets & Offers

🔴 Bet £5 & Get £20 FREE BETS! 🔴
FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
Claim Bonus
🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
New Customers only. Up to £100* in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Claim Bonus
🙌 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH! 🙌
New customers only. Minimum odds 1/5 (1.2). If you place a multiple at least one selection must meet the min odds requirement. Max £20 refund. Only deposits made using Cards or Applepay qualify. Qualifying bet must be placed and settled within 30 days of account opening. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Money Back As Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Bet Loses + £10 Casino Bonus! 🟢
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Bonuses 🌟
New Customers only. Deposit and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Sports/Virtual Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days, plus a £10 Casino Bonus, expires in 7 days. Wager the Casino Bonus 35x to withdraw winnings. Payment Cards only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Claim Bonus
Get up to £30 in FREE BETS! ☑️
New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Terms Apply
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.