Tag Archives: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Who should replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager?

It’s been a long time coming, but the Premier League is another manager down following this weekend of fixtures.

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following a 4-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday afternoon, meaning they are now on the hunt for their fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

There are several names being touted for the role currently, although it seems as though United will wait until the summer to make a permanent appointment. But which of the names being touted most are the best fit? These are my thoughts on the top five names linked with the role.

Zinedine Zidane – Unattached

A three time Champions League winner and two time La Liga champion, Zidane seemingly completed the football management game during his time at Real Madrid across two stints in charge.

The Frenchman left on his own accord on both occasions after successful spells, where his side were quite rigid with their style of play but always very tough to beat. His record in big games spoke for itself, with his willingness to rotate his team and trust young players also very impressive.

Zinedine Zidane Head coach in action during La Liga match round 38 between Real Madrid and Villarreal CF at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. .

A superstar in his own right, Zidane was able to keep big egos in check at Madrid and would be able to do the same at Old Trafford too. However with a lack of interest in the Premier League and no real interest in the job itself, if he did arrive you can only assume it’s for the wrong reasons and that never bodes well.

Tactically he is adaptable, willing to play different ways and systems depending on his team and the opposition and he would suit the superstar reputation that fans like too.

Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and FC Nantes at Parc des Princes on November 20, 2021...

Mauricio Pochettino – PSG

A manager who has forever been linked with the manager’s position at Old Trafford, Pochettino currently sits in the hot seat at Paris Saint-Germain.

Managing the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Marco Verratti and Marquinhos, it’s hard to see why Pochettino would be interested in potentially moving to United at the current time but reports suggest that he is.

Attacking football with high intensity and rigid defensive structure, based around possession Pochettino is an excellent fit to the traditions of Manchester United, and now is as good a time as ever to finally get him in the job.

Leicester City Manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at King Power Stadium on November 20, 2021...

Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City

I’m probably a bigger Brendan Rodgers fan than most, and this appointment doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world to me.

A big advocate of possession football, Rodgers is happy to bring youth players through too while he has proven himself as one of the better managers in England since moving to Leicester. He surpassed expectations while with Celtic, and then came to Leicester and won the club’s first ever FA Cup while missing out on top four twice because of final day defeats.

A former Liverpool connection will put some fans off, but he would come in and add to the foundations that Solskjaer has left behind. Unfortunately though, we already know that he isn’t really one to be able to compete with Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel which is what United need so he probably shouldn’t be among the top candidates for the role.

Luis Enrique, coach of Spain celebrate winning during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match between Spain and Sweden at the...

Luis Enrique – Spain

Enrique’s reputation has only grown since he took over as Spain manager for a second time following the tragic passing of his daughter due to cancer, but it’s all to do with his team’s performances on the pitch.

After winning the treble at Barcelona with the legendary ‘MSN’ striker trio, he has taken over the role of national team manager and implemented a style that has caught the eye of many. They pushed a France side all the way to the limit during the Nations League and Italy were pushed all the way at Euro 2020 too, before they got a win back over them to end their unbeaten run.

High intensity, fast-paced possession football with the sole intent to score as many goals as possible, Enrique likes to work with young talent and with pace. While he’d be a brilliant fit for what United need, he is likely to have no interest and with the World Cup not far away now this is dead before it even takes off.

Head coach Erik Ten Hag of Ajax Amsterdam looks on during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax and Go Ahead Eagles at Johan Cruijff Arena on...

Erik ten Hag – Ajax

The man at the top of a lot of fan’s wishlists, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is one of the hottest prospects in European football for the work he has done with the Amsterdam giants.

His brilliant young team are constantly bringing through young players as is tradition with the club, while still performing to a high level both domestically and in Europe. A true coach, he is constantly tweaking the team to improve which shows just how adaptable he is.

Always looking to play attacking, front-foot football, ten Hag could potentially be the man to challenge the elite coaches already in the league. He is obviously untested in the Premier League, but if his Champions League record with a lesser side is anything to go by, then it could be a master-stroke by the board.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked as Manchester United manager

Manchester United have officially confirmed the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.

The Reds were battered 4-1 away at Watford on Saturday afternoon and that served to be the final straw for the Old Trafford board, as United dropped down to seventh in the table with just 17 points after 12 games.

Michael Carrick has been placed in temporary charge of the club while United look to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season.

Solskjaer had been under severe pressure since a 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool last month, which was then followed by a 3-0 win over Spurs to seemingly settle the issues.

However United then limped to a 2-2 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League, were smashed 2-0 by Man City and have now been thrashed by newly promoted Watford.

It makes it five defeats in the last seven league games for United, who were expected to compete for the Premier League title this season after a summer transfer window that saw them sign Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

A statement from the club read;

Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.

“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”

Manchester United travel to Spain to take on Villarreal on Tuesday evening in the Champions League, before a trip to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League next Sunday.

Is it finally time for Donny Van de Beek to get a chance?

It’s fair to say that one of the biggest mysteries in European football over the last season-and-a-half has been surrounding Donny Van de Beek.

The Dutch midfielder joined Manchester United in a £40m deal last summer from Ajax, adding to their central midfield options with a more technically secure footballer.

He started his career on the bench against Crystal Palace as they were beaten on his debut, but he came off the bench that day to score his first goal for the club.

At first, it seemed as though he just needed a bedding-in period after joining later in the summer than the rest of the squad and he just needed to get up to speed.

But fast forward to November 2021 and Van de Beek is yet to be afforded the opportunity to make his mark at Old Trafford.

Since signing for the club, the 24-year-old has managed just 530 minutes of Premier League action across 21 appearances, with only four starts for the club. He has featured for just 15 minutes this season in the league.

To put that into context, Daniel James has mustered up 128 minutes for Manchester United this season in the Premier League and he left the club in August to sign for Leeds United.

Donny van de Beek of Manchester United looks on with Daniel James during a first team training session at Carrington Training Ground on August 11,...

With United’s current poor form, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to stick with what has worked for him in the past meaning Van de Beek’s chances have been as limited as ever.

But following the 2-0 defeat to Man City last time out in the Premier League, Solskjaer’s job has never been under the microscope more than it currently is.

Add to that the fact Paul Pogba has been ruled out until the new year with a thigh injury, it means a midfield spot may have just opened up for Van de Beek.

We’ve seen countless times that the duo of Scott McTominay and Fred doesn’t work, while Nemanja Matic is the most defensive of all the midfielders in the squad.

Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba of Manchester United walks off after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old...

Van de Beek is the most obvious and natural replacement for Pogba in midfield and if Solskjaer is serious about wanting to turn the club’s fortunes around, then he needs to try different things to get new results.

He hasn’t yet tried to give Van de Beek an extended run in the team and for all he knows the former Ajax man could be his knight in shining armour.

So far during his career at Old Trafford Van de Beek hasn’t been trusted to get significant playing time when the team have been losing, drawing, winning or even had the team rotated.

There will be no better time than now and with the January transfer window around the corner and no sign of Solskjaer going anywhere any time soon, it’s Van de Beek’s time to shine.

Every Premier League manager – Ranked

With Newcastle United set to complete their task of appointing a new manager this week, the Premier League’s managerial hotseats have just become even more full.

It seems as though Eddie Howe will be the man to fill the void at St James’ Park, after Unai Emery sensationally rejected their offer after being interested in a move earlier in the week. But with 19 other managers in a job currently, where do they all rank?

I’ve ranked each manager and explained (briefly) my reasoning for their position based on preference of style, achievements and coaching of players.

19. Daniel Farke – Norwich

Twice Farke has come up to the Premier League with his Norwich side, and twice he’s been absolutely battered every time.

The German has a style but it seems to be more accustomed to the Championship, where his side is one of the big dogs and he can’t turn that into anything substantial at the top level, so he must go at the bottom.

18. Sean Dyche – Burnley

Maybe controversial for him to be so low, but the style of football grinds me and he’s got nothing other than scraping survival year on year to show for it.

The one season he tried to expand a little saw Burnley dumped out of the Europa League before the group stages even started. The football is too old school for me, but he gets results so it keeps him off the bottom.

17. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Manchester United

Manchester United Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur...

Another potentially controversial selection, the Manchester United boss is in the relegation spots here.

No obvious style of play, no defensive awareness about his sides and results only tend to come because of the quality of player he has at his disposal. If he got another Premier League job it would be in this region of the table.

16. Ralph Hassenhuttl – Southampton

This is a weird one for the Austrian, because he’s clearly got something about him.

Hassenhuttl likes to play expansive, attacking football but while his ideas are the right ones he seems to struggle with the actual execution of them. 9-0 defeats in consecutive seasons tells me he’s too stubborn to adapt too, so he slots in towards the bottom.

15. Claudio Ranieri – Watford

It seems harsh to have a Premier League winner this far down the rankings, but times have moved and Ranieri isn’t what he once was.

The ‘tinkerman’ tends to play counter-attacking football but it all seems very freestyled when watching his sides and defensively they’ve never been the best. His achievements earn him this height though.

14. Mikel Arteta – Arsenal

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on October 26,...

Hear me out. Arteta’s Arsenal are showing improvements in recent months now that he doesn’t have many injuries, but I’m still not convinced.

They seem organised enough for now, but the discipline issues remain and whenever they concede a goal they look frail mentally. He’s young in his career and could certainly move up the list in years to come but for now, he’s low down in my ranking of bosses.

13. Bruno Lage – Wolves

Not a lot of experience for the Portuguese manager here, but what he did at Benfica really stands out to me.

Plenty of focus on attacking football, using different player profiles to get what he needs from his teams. They play exciting football and score goals and the fact he has switched Wolves around as quickly as he has is testament to his coaching skills. Like Arteta, he could move up the ranks over the years.

12. Dean Smith – Aston Villa

Smith may have hit his ceiling with Aston Villa now, but the job he has done to this point is nothing short of excellent.

He took over in the Championship, got them to play front-foot, attacking football while also setting up a good defensive base and was rewarded with a cup final and a top half finish. He’s probably at his peak as a coach now, which means mid-table is where he sits.

11. Patrick Vieira – Crystal Palace

There may be a bit of recency bias in this pick, but the job Vieira is doing at Selhurst Park is incredibly good right now.

He struggled at Nice after moving from the MLS but the way in which he has transformed the squad’s way of playing in such a short space of time is delightful. Possession football with young and flairy players, Vieira’s stock is only going to rise.

10. Thomas Frank – Brentford

Thomas Frank, Manager of Brentford reacts after his sides defeat in the Premier League match between Burnley and Brentford at Turf Moor on October...

Honestly, I can’t praise this man enough. The job he has done since taking over at Brentford has been tremendous, but the transition they have made into Premier League football is even better.

They play attacking football, with a mix of possession and going direct, while they’re brave with playing out from the back and strong defensively. I fully expect them to stay up and think Frank will be on a lot of club’s radars higher up the league should the managerial merry-go-round start later this season.

9. Graham Potter – Brighton & Hove Albion

Not a big name in the slightest but the job he has done since coming to English football has not gone unnoticed.

Potter’s sides play excellent possession football with a major focus on control and scoring goals, just like a Pep Guardiola side. He’s still young in his career to rank him much higher than this, but you have to assume that with better players he gets better results, so he’s one to keep an eye on.

8. Marcelo Bielsa – Leeds United

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on October 26, 2021 in...

Possibly the most gung-ho manager in all of football, Bielsa’s methods and philosophy are legendary across Europe and now he does it for Leeds.

The one vs one battles he creates all over the pitch rely on intense discipline from each player and unbelievable fitness levels, something he drills into every player. He improves individuals on a regular basis and entertains, but really should’ve won more in his career considering the reputation he has.

7. Rafa Benitez – Everton

A Champions League winner, a La Liga winner, an FA Cup winner, Rafa Benitez is one of the best coaches of his generation.

The issue for him unfortunately, is that generation was about 15 years ago. Rafa was at his best in the mid 2000’s to mid 2010’s during his time with Valencia and Liverpool but since then his football has become very rigid and uninspiring. He can still get results, but I don’t expect him to pull up any trees between now and the end of his career.

6. David Moyes – West Ham

Moyes’ career seemed dead and buried after his Man United spell almost a decade ago, but the way he has built his reputation back up has been nothing short of excellent.

He’s build a West Ham side that now competes with the best teams in the country when they face off against each other and is one of the toughest to beat, while also scoring plenty of goals going forward. The only thing he’s missing now is a trophy or two.

5. Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City

Rodgers showed what a great coach he was during his time with Watford and Swansea, then the Liverpool job when he made them genuine title contenders with brilliant, attacking football.

That job came a little early for him in the end, but he went to Celtic and was dominant and has made Leicester a truly competitive side. He even added the FA Cup to his trophy cabinet, so he is comfortably the best of the rest for me.

4. Antonio Conte – Tottenham

Antonio Conte, head coach of Tottenham Hotspur observes the squad during a training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on November 02, 2021...

The new Tottenham manager has a proven CV in the managerial world and is without a doubt one of the best in the world.

His 3-4-3 formation has seen him win Serie A titles, a Premier League title and an FA Cup and his management style makes all his sides incredibly difficult to beat. Sometimes though, that pragmatism takes over and not losing gets prioritised over winning, so he just misses out on the top three.

3. Thomas Tuchel – Chelsea

A brilliant thinker with positive attacking football his forté, Tuchel has come to Chelsea and flipped a switch to become a brilliant defensive coach now.

Chelsea barely ever concede goals and yet they still find a way to score goals and win trophies. He’s shown he can do all sides of the game to a high level and has the trophies to boot with a Champions League winners medal so he goes in at third.

2. Pep Guardiola – Manchester City

When it’s all said and done and Guardiola hangs up his coaching hat, he could go down as one of the absolute best ever.

He’s won everything there is to win twice over, playing brilliant attacking football and revolutionising the way teams all over the world approach the game. He improves players individually, improves teams endlessly and wins games with style. The only flaw for me is he’s always had to spend a lot of money to do it, but that’s why teams bring him in and he always delivers.

1. Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool FC at Molineux on January 23,...

For me, the best coach in world football not just the Premier League.

Klopp came into a Liverpool side and implemented a brand new style immediately, and slowly but surely built his squad to become one of the best sides in modern history that won it all. They play fast-paced football with the first though always to score goals, have pace and are brave in their positions.

If I was starting a football club and could make anyone the manager, I’d pick Klopp.

Should Manchester United stick with a back three against Atalanta?

After a 5-0 thumping by Liverpool at Old Trafford just over a week ago, Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacted with a 3-0 win against Tottenham on Saturday.

It was a good reaction for a side that was clearly bereft of confidence, as Solskjaer named the oldest starting lineup of his tenure so far by partnering Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani up front together with a back five behind them.

But now as United look to continue to build some momentum when they travel to Italy to take on Atalanta tonight, Solskjaer has some decisions to make regarding his starting lineup.

The returning Raphael Varane slotted straight into the middle of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in central defence, while Solskjaer continued to select Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw but in slightly more advanced wing-back roles.

Scott McTominay and Fred started in midfield with Bruno Fernandes alongside them, with the Scot playing slightly deeper than his teammates.

It was a team that didn’t get any highlight reels in motion, but they turned in a sturdy performance that earned them a vital three points in a must-win situation.

They face a similar situation in the Champions League tonight, where a win puts them five points clear of Atalanta with just two group games remaining meaning they should qualify for the next round.

But with confidence still not at it’s best and Atalanta proving at Old Trafford two weeks ago that they’re good enough to take the game to the Reds, Solskjaer must be careful.

There is the chance he could keep the team unchanged with his three-at-the-back formation, considering how well it worked at the weekend. Victor Lindelof hasn’t travelled due to a slight knock, so Shaw could slot into his left centre-back role with Alex Telles moving into the wing-back role in the only change.

However, with the success that Marcus Rashford had against the Serie A side in the first game between the sides and the fact he has scored in three of his four appearances since returning from injury, he probably deserves a start.

Paul Pogba is also available again after serving a suspension against Spurs, which could allow United to go with a slightly more attacking team but keeping their defensive shape in tact by putting him into a central midfield role ahead of one of the ‘McFred’ duo.

There is also the potential of Solskjaer slightly altering the shape, keeping his defensive mindset in place with the two holding midfielders while going with two attacking midfielders instead of two strikers.

That could allow for summer signing Jadon Sancho to be brought into the side alongside Fernandes and behind Ronaldo in a role familiar to him during his time with Dortmund.

The Bundesliga side used a 3-4-3 variation for large periods of his time with the club there and the 21-year-old was very productive in that role, using his combinations and dribbling well to create chances and score goals.

It would be a chance for Solskjaer to give him a run-out once again and for Sancho to finally make an impression on United fans who have been waiting for him to truly arrive at the club.

Solskjaer has got decisions to make, because the squad he has spent the best part of three years building isn’t best suited to this formation.

But in a period where he is desperate for results to save his job, it may be a necessity. With that said, he now needs to find the balance between results and performances, so a few alterations wouldn’t go amiss.

Why Antonio Conte isn’t a good fit for the Manchester United job

If one thing is sure right now at Manchester United, it’s that there needs to be a change of manager as soon as possible.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is, as of this writing, currently still the manager at Old Trafford despite the embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

But there are reports doing the rounds now that the club hierarchy are considering his position as manager of the club, and some even state that Antonio Conte has been included on the shortlist of potential replacements.

Now lets get this clear, Conte would 100 per cent be an upgrade on Solskjaer.

He is a brilliant coach, with a track record for success at club level and even internationally with Italy where he kickstarted the journey that has led to them becoming European champions under Roberto Mancini.

He led Juventus to three successive Serie A titles before leaving after a fall-out with the board. He took Italy to the quarter-finals with wins over number 1 ranked Belgium and reigning champions Spain, before a penalty-shootout defeat to Germany at Euro 2016.

He then came to the Premier League with Chelsea and won the Premier League in his first season, before winning the FA Cup the following year and leaving following another bust up with the board.

Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea poses with the Premier League Trophy after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford...

Then at Inter Milan, he missed out on the Serie A title by just one point in his first season before then waltzing to the club’s first championship since the days of Jose Mourinho in 2011. He left Inter in the summer after the club informed him of their plans to sell a key player to make money.

There is no doubting his ability to coach, but one thing all those teams have in common in addition to their success is the profile of the squad and the players he brought in. It goes totally against what Manchester United currently have and have been doing in the market.

Conte is a big advocate of a three-at-the-back formation and the truth is that United’s defenders aren’t good. So it’s a positive that they’d get extra help, but United don’t have great full-backs either.

United’s biggest strength is their wingers and attackers, who play at pace and are all a great goal threat. So limiting the amount of attackers that can play in the team because of the need for an extra defender seems counter productive to the team.

Inter Milan's Italian coach Antonio Conte reacts during the UEFA Champions League first round first leg, group B, football match between Inter Milan...

Conte is also an incredibly opinionated manager which would be great for fans who are sick of the board making footballing decisions based on no experience. However despite that, the likelihood of the Glazers appointing a manager at this stage who won’t support them publicly is unlikely.

Add to that the fact that Conte would require further huge investment in a squad to overhaul it to fit in with his style and moniker, before likely leaving a couple of years later after a bust up with the board then it makes you question whether it’s worth risking a Jose Mourinho v2 appointment.

Another big concern of mine is his tendency not to use young players. While at Chelsea he had access to one of the best academies in the land and yet opted to experienced signings and shuffling players into new positions.

Players like Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho are in the first-team currently but could find their position under threat or forced to perform roles that are far from their best.

Manchester United's English striker Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester United's English striker Jadon Sancho during...

Youngsters such as Hannibal Mejbri, Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga, Teden Mengi, James Garner and Ethan Galbraith could quickly find their path to the first-team blocked and United would be throwing away bags of talent.

The best way for United to ensure a successful appointment for their next manager is to decide on a playing style and personality type they want in charge and then appoint based on that. Not pick a big name or pick someone who doesn’t align with those processes.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich will appoint a nobody so long as they align with the thoughts of the board, because they’re not scared to wave the axe if necessary.

If Manchester United want to be considered a top club again, then they need to start acting like one. All this talk of ‘United DNA’ or ‘the United way of playing’ is nonsense if you don’t appoint staff that adhere to it.

Ole tried and failed. Conte wouldn’t even try, just like Mourinho didn’t. That’s not what the club needs and why United should stay away from Conte.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must go after 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool

It was arguably the most embarrassing performance in Manchester United’s Premier League history on Sunday, as Liverpool came to Old Trafford and thumped them 5-0.

A hat-trick from Mo Salah and goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the sword, as Jurgen Klopp’s men rushed to a 4-0 lead at half-time.

Salah added a fifth just after the break to round-up his monumental day, before substitute Paul Pogba was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Keita.

It was a straight up humiliation from United’s fiercest rivals as they came to town and cut through the Reds defence like a hot knife through butter.

United adopted that strange high-but-not-so-high press with a low block midfield and defence, meaning there was about 40 yards of space for the Liverpool defence to play into the halfway line and then be right at the team.

It was the exact same approach that has seen United win just three of their last nine games, getting cut open constantly because there is no shape or structure to the team.

Paul Scholes warned the team following the midweek 3-2 comeback win against Atalanta.

Do that against Liverpool and see what happens. The game will be gone.”

He was absolutely spot on. The game was over inside half an hour and United were completely helpless to stop anything.

It’s as clear as day now that Solskjaer has hit his ceiling with the job. He did a great job in rebuilding the squad, bringing in top talent, getting rid of deadwood and improving the morale of the squad after a torrid few years.

But now, when it comes to making the step up to becoming contenders and competing with Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and the like, he isn’t and never will be up for it.

Any top side would react to a run of three wins in nine games, especially with the manner of the performances and a thumping to your most fierce rivals at home with a change.

Manchester United like to push the narrative that they’re still a top club, so they need to act.

If they don’t, it summarises where they are as a club. Mediocrity is a term thrown around quite a lot in football, but with one title in the last decade and no trophy for almost five years now United are entering that territory.

Not sacking Solskjaer now sends a message out that the current form and performances are acceptable, which would just confirm to all that the club aren’t interested in success on the pitch anymore.

The squad is strong enough that there is still time to save this season if action is taken quickly, but contrary to what Solskjaer said yesterday it can still get worse.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be brave in team selection against Atalanta

Manchester United play host to Serie A’s free-scoring machines Atalanta in the Champions League group stages tonight knowing that they must win to put their future in the tournament back in their hands.

After an opening day defeat to Young Boys and an injury-time win over Villarreal so far, United come into this game in third place in the group with Atalanta yet to taste defeat in their two games.

But for United, their form is horrible. Two wins in seven games, with those wins coming thanks to a last minute penalty save against West Ham and Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike against Villarreal on match-day two in the 95th minute.

But a 4-2 defeat at Leicester at the weekend has been blamed on a ‘lack of balance’ in Solskjaer’s starting lineup where he started with all of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba.

According to many, including pundit Jamie Carragher, the reason for the poor defending and defeat was because Solskjaer selected too many attacking players in his lineup.

In fact however, the defeat was just simply down to poor performances and a lack of a plan. What Solskjaer must not do now, is revert to type and go with a defensive lineup in a game he must win.

It’s almost guaranteed that the Norwegian will go back to his favoured ‘McFred’ partnership in midfield with Scott McTominay and Fred coming in for Nemanja Matic and one of the attacking players.

Fred and Scott McTominay of Manchester United run out to warm up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old...

Based on current form, it’ll be Jadon Sancho that drops out of the team with Pogba moving to the wing but that is a move that no United fan wants to see.

I don’t tend to agree with what Gary Neville says when it comes to Manchester United, because as he said on Monday Night Football, he is biased because Solskjaer is his friend and former teammate. But one thing he said in the most recent episode was absolutely correct.

Solskjaer must find a way to make the team work with the extra attacking players in the team. He has too many options and too much talent to leave them out in favour of a more defensive and pragmatic approach.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester...

United aren’t exactly bulletproof when he goes with two defensive midfielders playing in central midfield anyway, so you may as well have more firepower at your disposal from the start to frighten the opposition too.

He must be brave in sticking with the team selection despite it not working against Leicester and go for an attacking side once again. If he can’t make it work, then he’s the wrong man for the job.

Zinedine Zidane has ‘no interest’ in Premier League

Manchester United fans have been dealt a blow in their wish to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after it emerged Zinedine Zidane has no interest in a Premier League job.

The Norwegian boss has come under intense pressure in recent weeks at Old Trafford after just two wins in seven games ahead of a run of fixtures that includes Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Atalanta twice in the Champions League.

Fans of the club have been vocal about their wish for him to be sacked to give United a chance to challenge for major trophies, with Frenchman Zidane one of the names at the top of their wishlist to replace him.

However it is now being reported that ‘Zizou’ has never been interested in taking a job in the Premier League and never will be.

That is according to French journalist Frederic Hermel, who is incredibly close to the legendary midfielder and works for French outlet RMC Sport.

Hermel has followed Zidane throughout his career and interviewed him on several occasions and is regarded as one of the only journalists that the former Real Madrid man really trusts.

He tweeted out that Zidane has never been interested in a Premier League move and never will be following rumours of an approach from Newcastle United, while Spanish outlet El Chringuito claimed that Manchester United had held informal conversations with him about taking over from Solskjaer.

But with Hermel now claiming that there is no interest, that should be the end of that such is his reliability in all things Zidane.

The news comes as a blow to United fans who were hopeful that he could take over from Solskjaer, with the 49-year-old by far the highest profile free agent available currently.

Other names to have been linked to the position are former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte, Erik Ten Haag of Ajax, Mauricio Pochettino of Paris Saint-Germain and England boss Gareth Southgate.

Solskjaer has been given full confidence by the board so far despite the poor run of results and there is no suggestion from within the club that they are looking to replace him any time soon.

Jadon Sancho will come good.. with a proper coach in charge

One of the most protracted transfers of the summer was Jadon Sancho’s big money move to Manchester United, as he finally joined the club from Borussia Dortmund.

A £72.9m deal, Sancho joined up with his United teammates just a week before the season after representing England at Euro 2020 and then going on holiday to rest.

He made his debut on the opening day of the season as a substitute in the 5-1 win over Leeds at Old Trafford, with a rapturous applause from the crowd confirming his place as a new fan favourite.

But now ten games into the season, the 21-year-old is yet to register a single goal or assist for the club as they have struggled to find consistency in their game.

United so far have won five, lost three and drawn two of their games this season but their recent form has been poor. They’ve earned just two wins in their last seven games, and even those wins came courtesy of a last minute penalty save and then a last minute winner.

Sancho has failed to make a huge impact in games so far and has come in for ridicule and criticism on social media and in the media.

But the slow start to his campaign could’ve been (and was) predicted way before it got to this point.

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United shakes hands with Manchester United Head Coach / Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Carrington Training Ground on July...

Firstly, he’s a new signing coming in off no pre-season to a new team. That’s tough for anyone, we’ve seen plenty of top players struggle at their new clubs in the first months of the season before and we will see it in the future too.

Secondly, he’s only 21. Yes, he’s been playing regularly for years, but he’s still young and learning his game and body properly and will need time to adapt and find his consistency in a new league.

Thirdly however, and most importantly, is that the team he has joined lacks a style of play. It’s something that has been mentioned for years under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and continues to be a problem to this day.

Sancho is coming from the Bundesliga and Dortmund, where their style is engrained into the club and the manager is selected based off whether they can perform that style.

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 02, 2021 in...

They play quick, transitional football with a high-press and look to break the lines from midfield as quickly as possible to catch their opposition defence unorganised and punish them.

We’re now into a fourth season with Solskjaer in charge and there are no obvious patterns of play, there is no organisation to the press and there is an over-reliance on individual ability and certain players to play.

United fans have claimed for a long time that the personnel needed to be better but that it doesn’t necessarily matter when there is no coaching happening, and that is proving to be the case right now.

Paul Pogba was the cream of the crop at the start of the season when he couldn’t stop assisting his teammates, but now it’s being claimed he’s a problem player on the pitch because he’s stopped delivering, despite nobody stepping up in his absence.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho of Manchester United warms up ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at...

Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing was barely criticised when he scored five goals in his first five games for the club, but suddenly his presence makes the team unbalanced.

Sancho’s form is poor and he is struggling, that much is true and obvious. But so is the entire team. In a team that doesn’t know its head from its arse, it’s no surprise that new signings fail to deliver the results many expect them to.

The only constant is that the team fail to deliver a specific style or genuine patter in the way they play football matches. That is on Solskjaer, and it will continue until he is replaced by someone else.