Happy New Year Thomas. Less than 24 hours before Christmas, Paris Saint Germain have hit the big red button, and jettisoned Thomas Tuchel, bringing Mauricio Pochettino in from the cold. Despite advancing top of the Group of Death in the Champions league, and a 4-0 win in the French league, PSG’s hierarchy decided this was the time to end the long running saga of where Poch would serve next.
This can only be seen as welcome news for United fans. The scepter that has been hanging over Ole’s head has finally come down, and the baby faced assassin is still standing. Ever since he was hired in a caretaker role, it seemed like the United brass was simply waiting for the opportunity to bring in the former Tottenham man.
In their defense, Ole’s reign has been far from steady. Soaring highs against the top clubs were beaten back with staggering lows against the minnows, and consistency seemed like an impossibility. Even just a few weeks ago, it could be argued that Solskjaer had taken United as far as he ever could, and the experienced hands of Pochettino would be called on to salvage the season.
But United didn’t press the panic button, and while they certainly haven’t been able to back the Solskjaer revolution with the cash needed to make all of the sweeping changes the Norwegian have wanted so far, they may not have a choice now. The #OleOut crew no longer have a prized replacement in mind that can stroll through the doors. With no obvious replacement waiting in the wings, the decision to 100% back Ole has been made for United, and that can only be a positive for the future of this club.
Brick by Brick
Ole has proven that he knows how to give the United fans what they want. For decades, the Fergie mentality was simple: We’re going to outscore you, no matter what you do. That led to some amazing attacking performances, some hockey score lines, and trophies. One thing was assured though – the team that marched out of the tunnel in United colors was going to entertain.
I have never known a United fan that wouldn’t be fine if United lost, but played fearlessly, and always looked to take the game to the opposition. Sometimes you’re going to get beat, but when you lose, and do it in a negative fashion, you’re no longer given a pass for the result.
That is the exact style Solskjaer is trying to play. He may have felt that he couldn’t do that all the time, with the fear of the sack hanging over his head. The concern that one or two losses would usher in his replacement has to have weighed on his mind, and influenced his team sheet on occasion. That safe not sorry approach has cost United at home this year, and infuriated fans on occasion.
He surely now feels that he has the license to go out and play exactly how he wants, and not fear a snap reaction from the boardroom.
The relief of that burden should usher in a second wave of Solskjaer momentum, similar to what we saw in the late Winter and Spring 2 years ago. By keeping calm and carrying on with Ole, the United brass have also committed to what he is trying to build. Another managerial change, would certainly bring about yet another timely and expensive rebuild, and there is not a single available manager that would even come close to be worth that slog. (For those that would shout for Nagelsmann, the man turned down Real Madrid less than 2 years ago, no way the idea of working under the Glazer’s appeals to him, and his loud outfits don’t belong on a Zoolander runway, let alone the Old Trafford steps.)
Liquid cash troubles aside, the club has no other option than to back Solskjaer as he moves United closer and closer to our rightful top spot. The fact that we sit where we do in the table, with arguably none of his preferred targets coming in the most recent transfer window, and the parasite that is Mino Raiola inserting himself whenever he feels the spotlight dim is nothing short of incredible.
The Future is Bright
This United squad is building the mentality of the teams of old. Sure, some changes still need to be made to the squad to build a dominant force up and down the teamsheet, but Ole can, and should, view the panicky moves in the French capital as a mandate to push on with his vision fearlessly. Maybe, just maybe, the current United board has learned that changing managers every 2 years is not sustainable for a club that has title aspirations. It also is precisely how you get 0 big names excited about possible transfers in.
Stability and consistency go hand in hand with winning, and it starts at the very top. Solskjaer has always backed his ability to do this job, and the United board seemed to give him just about enough rope to hang himself with, and keep any blood off their hands. Now, the oil barons of France have cut the rope from Ole’s neck, and placed the wheel firmly back in his hands.
For better or worse, the easy option is off the table. It may not have happened the way many were expecting, but United are now 100% behind their cult talisman. Going forward, this is Ole’s United, we’re just enjoying it (Even if we occasionally need blood pressure medication). For the first time in a long time, the Glazers may actually not have bottled something in search of the last drop of blood from the stone, and we should be very excited for what the new year is going to bring.