Just 6 weeks ago, Manchester United were in turmoil. With only 26 points in 17 games, being 11 points off the top four and having suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool, things were bad. But then Solskjaer arrived.
Everything has since changed. The performances are a whole lot better, the football is attacking and entertaining. Its a world apart to the way it was. There is a huge buzz around the club as well which is clear to see. The fans are happier, the players are happier, the staff are happier. This alone is enough for me to say he warrants the full-time job.
Then came the results, we won 8 on the bounce, we knocked Arsenal out the FA Cup and beat Tottenham. Our late comeback against Burnley on Tuesday night to end the game in a draw made it 9 games unbeaten under the new manager. Yes, it would have been nice for Ole to become the first manager in Premier League history to win his first 7 games in charge of a club in the Premier League. But if you would have asked me after the Liverpool match would I take winning 8 in a row and drawing the 9th, I would have snapped your hand off.
It’s the most successful start to a managerial career in Premier League history. Guardiola and Ancelotti both lost their 7th game in charge. The way he started was unexpected, but was so needed and is so welcome. We can actually enjoy watching Manchester United again.
It’s not just on the field he’s improved things, he’s raised the standards off the pitch as well. The Manchester United players are now finally arriving for games in their club suits. Something which hasn’t been seen since the Fergie days. Something so simple, but something so important. If you raise the standards off the pitch, they will raise on it as well. They look professional, it demands a certain level of respect off your opponent and it shows confidence.
And then there is today’s business by the club. We’ve finally secured Martial on a deal that ties him to the club till at least 2024 on a lucrative five-year deal. This wouldn’t have happened under Mourinho, he was unhappy and considering his future. But just 6 weeks and 9 games later under Solskjaer, he’s committing to a new five-year deal. That’s the difference between 6 weeks ago and now. Next up, we need to tie De Gea, Herrera and Mata down to new contracts too.
The news that Fellaini has also agreed on a deal to sign for Chinese club Shandong Luneng is also a welcome sight for the majority of us reds. It finally shows a movement away from the past 5 years since Fergie retired. It is a move in the positive direction for the club. Although I am happy to see him go, I’d just like to say the biggest of thank you’s to Marouane. He always gave 110% for the club, you could never fault his work rate and effort on the pitch and he won us some very important matches. But he was never loved by the Manchester United fans, I think partly due to the fact Moyes had overpaid for him, as well as opting to sign him over Ozil. A decision which I still can’t fathom out to this day.
But I chanted his name on many occasions, usually after he scored a last-minute header to get us a win. He is good at that, and for me, his greatest strength was off the bench. He offered something different when the opposition players were tiring. But he wasn’t utilised like this enough or in his correct position. He is not a holding midfielder, he is better as a centre forward like he played for Everton. But he wasn’t good enough to be a starter for United, he would usually fade early in the second half. Had he been utilised correctly, I do believe we could have gone on to love him.
We now sit just two points off the top four, in the fifth round of the FA Cup and in the last 16 of the Champions League. Things are finally looking up for United, and if it was up to me I wouldn’t bother searching for another manager. We already have him. Ed Woodward, give Ole Solskjaer the job.