Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: A word of warning for Manchester United fans

Solskjaer Solskjaer (Arbeiderpartiet/Flickr)

Manchester United have today sacked Jose Mourinho as their manager. It comes just days before the Red Devils travel to South Wales to take on Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City side in the Premier League clash. We’d be scared too.

The move to sack Mourinho has interested a lot of Cardiff City fans. Not only because of the upcoming fixture, but because of the man linked to take the reigns until the end of the season.

That man? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. That’s right – the manager that relegated Cardiff City from the Premier League in 2014.

As the roars of laughter echo around South Wales, Manchester United fans are getting excited.

So, us kind folk at View From The Ninian have issued the below word of warning for fans of Manchester United.

Playing talent doesn’t equal managerial talent

We were all pretty excited by the appointment of the Norwegian as Cardiff’s manager back in 2014. Solskjaer was a brilliant footballer – you’ll know that better than us – and he had a good reputation out in Norway.

He of course won the Norwegian top division with Molde and was highly sought after.

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When Solskjaer was appointed, Cardiff City was in a poor state. Vincent Tan had well and truly fallen out with former manager Malky Mackay and was at loggerheads with fans.

It was a tough job, granted, but Cardiff needed a strong character and Solskjaer was not that. It became clear very that he was out of his depth and looked like a rabbit in the headlights.

He struggles to manage upwards

On that divide between the club and its owner, Cardiff were not in a too dissimilar situation in 2014 as Manchester United are now. While you want to play in red (we certainly did not!) there’s a troubled relationship between the club hierarchy and fans.

That continued at Cardiff until Neil Warnock was appointed in 2016. Warnock has successfully managed on the field and off it, ensuring that Vincent Tan and the executives are realistic and make sensible football decisions.

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Solskjaer was unable to do that. It appeared as though Solskjaer lacked the strength to control an owner in Vincent Tan who at that time was pretty erratic with his decisions.

Manchester United need a strong leader, just as Cardiff did in 2014, and I fear Solskjaer is not that man.

He doesn’t know his best team

Ole came in January, was given chance to strengthen, money to make some signings, and it still wasn’t enough. One of the key problems was he didn’t really know his best team.

He seemed to change his team for every game and there was talk that players were lining up one way in training, and then a completely different way when it came to the games.

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Solskjaer would change a player here, a player there but it created instability at the club and meant the team could never build up a head of steam. He won three games in the second of the Premier League season and looked painfully out of his depth.

He didn’t know his best system

As well as chopping and changing the personnel every week, Solksjaer never seemed to settle on the right system. He was very erratic and continued to try and find the winning formula for the Bluebirds until it was too late and Cardiff City were relegated to the Premier League.

His recruitment was poor

Manchester United are in dire need of reinforcements in January. Their squad is nowhere near the level of their rivals Manchester City and Liverpool and United fans will be hoping for reinforcements once the window opens.

From Cardiff’s experience, the Norwegian is poor in the transfer market. While manager of Cardiff, and in need of more quality, Solksjaer could do little more than turn to players he’d worked with at United.

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Fabio, Magnus Wolf Eikrem, Wilf Zaha and Mats Moller Daehli all joined the club. At the time, only Fabio was anything above poor.

Solskjaer also had a track record at Cardiff of signing players that shared the same agent as him, rather than what Cardiff actually needed.

The Norwegian spent a lot of money for a club Cardiff’s size and it’s scary to think what Solskjaer could do with a bit of money.

Summary

It is looking more and more likely that Solskjaer will be in charge at United until the end of the season. If that is the case – good luck to him.

The above post may come across bitter, but it is not intended. While we can sympathise that the club was in a poor state when Solskjaer joined, the facts are that he was a very poor manager for Cardiff City and did not help the team on the pitch.

At his beloved Manchester United, things may well turn out different. It’ll be interesting to see how the season develops for the former Cardiff boss.