For Manchester United, the time has come to win.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has definitely achieved quite a bit in his time as Manchester United manager.
It’s important we mention these achievements so that it doesn’t seem like we’re being needlessly harsh on the Norwegian.
The Nowegian helped to rid the club of the toxicity that was created by Jose Mourinho and immediately made Old Trafford feel like an enjoyable place to be again. He deals very well with the media and is yet to throw one of his own players under the bus, often sticking up for them even when it’s the harder thing to do.
Solskjaer has won some massive games as United manager, and tactically bested some opposition coaches who have a CV far greater than his own, and he has reintroduced a culture into the club that has fans feeling like they are watching Manchester United again.
But for Solskjaer, there is simply no more time for talk of progress and development. It’s time to win. It’s time to succeed.
It’s now or never for Solskjaer at Man United.
While there have been definite improvements, this current crop of United players is far too good to waste their careers with no success at club level.
If United start with a lineup consisting of De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Shaw, Fred, Pogba, Bruno, Rashford, Cavani and Sancho, every player is good enough to start for the best teams across Europe.
And if they aren’t good enough, they were all signed for a small fortune, and should be good enough, which also falls on the manager.
This will also leave players like Henderson, Martial, McTominay, van de Beek, James, Lindelof and Greenwood on the bench. A bench that Solskjaer needs to start using, instead of running the same group of players into the ground, as he did towards the end of last season.
Solskjaer backed and trusted by the board.
United’s manager has been rewarded for his efforts with a new contract, and further backing in the transfer market.
We won’t dive into whether or not he deserved this extension in his contract here, but this move from United seems almost identical to what they did when they gave Solskjaer the job full-time. There was absolutely no need to rush into it.
They could have waited to see how it was going to pan out, safe in the knowledge that this club legend would never go anywhere else (because he wasn’t really in demand).
But instead, they jumped the gun and made him the manager permanently, before knowing if it was the right decision. Now, over three years and no trophies later, they have extended his contract.
United fans should see the Europa League loss on penalties as a blessing in disguise, because who knows how long that may have bought Solskjaer? If De Gea just saved one penalty out of 11, those who already have blind faith in the manager would have acted as though they’d seen the second coming. All while ignoring the fact that the only reason United were in the Europa League was because of a calamitous Champions League group stage.
When we talk about trophies, the Europa League shouldn’t even enter into the mind’s of United fans. This squad is good enough to compete at the very top. Is it much worse than Chelsea’s, if at all? And Chelsea won the Champions League just a few months ago, largely because they had the stones to sack their club legend and hire a proper manager.
Solskjaer should be scared. But he should use that fear to create a proper winning machine. The tools are there, and so is the support.
There can be no more excuses. No more talk about a plan. No more silly mistakes that cost trophies. It’s time to win.