The Norwegian manager has come under criticism in Manchester United’s failure to get over the line against less fancied English Premier League sides.
Away defeats to West Ham and Newcastle United caused concerns for Manchester United fans. Another away loss to Bournemouth will add more pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Only Crystal Palace have managed a win at Old Trafford this season.
But it was the Europa League surrender to bottom of the group, FC Astana, that signaled trouble. The rumor mill went in over drive and marked it the end of tenure for the Norwegian. Mauricio Pochettino’s availability did little favor to the beleaguered manager.
Solskjaer has persisted through. And a recap of their first season from the start and close to the midway point shows a great picture.
Manchester United have secured results against their top-six rivals and are genuine contenders for a Champions League slot next season.
Chelsea were the first to be surprised by the Red Devils. The season opener between the English giants resulted in a 4-0 victory for Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Title challengers Leicester City were the next big hurdle for Solskjaer. The 1-0 home win would subdue the Foxes as the Red Devils showed their true colors. Old Trafford is their fortress and pretenders were not welcomed.
Old foes Liverpool were playing the best football on the planet but they could not subjugate the Red Devils. Solskjaer’s United do not bend over for anyone. They took a point from the fixture and got on a three match winning run in all competitions.
Mourinho and Guardiola made to pay
As it stands, Manchester United are rallying as the festive season approached. They have four wins and two stalemates in their last six competitive fixtures. But it has been their last two results that have ensured Solskjaer’s continuity at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham floundered on their away trip. Marcus Rashford profited from mistakes by the Spurs defenders. United were the second best team but secured the points in the 2-1 win.
Pep Guardiola is the latest manager to succumb against Solskjaer. Manchester City had their title ambitions thwarted as they lost 1-2 in the derby. To make matters worse and piling on the pressure on Citizens, the defeat came at the Etihad.
Questions about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical inabilities have been put to rest. He has tackled with the best in English football and came out with his reputation in tact. United can dream. Elite European football is coming back to Old Trafford.