He is over 12 months into the job and although United have shown flashes of brilliance in wins against some of the six this season, there is a lot of inconsistency.
The Norwegian coach admitted their first half display in the 3-1 home defeat in the League Cup semifinal first leg against Man City was the “worst they’ve played all season” and that there is “no quick fix” to turn things around.
Maybe the quickest fix is to hire a new manager?
Mauricio Pochettino is currently sitting around twiddling his thumbs as the man long expected to take charge of Man United is being touted by many fans of the Red Devils to replace Solskjaer before the end of this season.
But if Ed Woodward and the hierarchy continue to make mistakes at the top of the club, is hiring a new manager actually going to make that much of a difference?
Here’s a three-point plan for how Pochettino would implement change at United, if he’s given the chance:
1. Youth over everything: Solskjaer is big on young players and United have a lot of them coming through. What they need is a coach who has a track record of not only finding young players but developing them. Pochettino ticks that box as he showed at Southampton and Tottenham. It’s all well and good chucking young, talented players into the team but how do they keep getting better? Poch is a master at keeping youngsters hungry.
2. More demanding of hierarchy: There’s a sense that Solskjaer has always been part of the furniture at United. From his lengthy spell at Old Trafford as a player and cult hero to his years spent coaching the reserve team, Solskjaer is a club man through and through. That hurts him when it comes to being forceful with Woodward and others. If Solskjaer isn’t happy with the transfer budget or contract negotiations with a star player, is he really going to kick off at Woodward and Co.? Probably not. Pochettino built a very good relationship with Daniel Levy, the roughest chairman in the PL, and the fact he was at Tottenham for over five years suggests he is used to getting what he wants even when the odds are staked against him. His biggest job would be to allow Woodward and Co. to let him focus solely on the soccer side of things and let him crack on with getting rid of players who aren’t up to his standards. Poch is a ruthless operator and Solskjaer doesn’t seem to be. At all.
3. Build on Solskjaer’s platform: When all is said and done, Solskjaer has done a decent job to steady the ship over the last 12 months. Nothing more, nothing less. He has introduced young players to the team, started to build a new direct playing style the fans love (especially when it works) and he’s started to address their defensive issues with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire bought for big bucks. Pochettino would be the man to tweak things slightly, not break it all up, and he would provide the next logical step in United’s development. Just like the Argentine coach kicked things on at Spurs after Tim Sherwood gave Harry Kane and others their debuts, Pochettino can use his motivation skills to get the most of this young United squad.