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Man Utd have already repeated the same mistake they made with Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was finally sacked by Manchester United after a 4-1 defeat to Watford, but the club’s obsession with the recent past is more damaging than one result

Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar after Watford defeat

When the axe finally fell, it fell with a heart emoji.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t sacked as Manchester United manager after they were beaten 6-1 by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham last season.

He wasn’t sacked when they were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages by RB Leipzig.

He wasn’t sacked when they lost the Europa League final to Villarreal on penalties.

And he wasn’t sacked when Liverpool and Manchester City treated Old Trafford as their own personal playground.

And if you were of a mind to treat all of those moments in isolation and search for the context, then you can sort of see why he didn’t go.







He might have lost 6-1 to Mourinho but at least he isn’t Mourinho.

He might have been knocked out of the Champions League to Leipzig but he beat them 5-0 a few weeks earlier.

He might have missed out on the Europa League but he’d just come second in the Premier League.

And he might have lost to Liverpool and City but… well yeah they were a bit more difficult to excuse, although some tried.

It was just too tempting not to.



Solskjaer’s Manchester United reign has finally come to an end
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Image:

Getty Images)




Like a salivating Homer Simpson chasing after a meaty hog roast as it became dirty, then slimy, then airborne, the desire from some to declare that “it’s still good” after Solskjaer’s latest failure would often take hold.

That was clearly more out of hope than expectation or any form of fierce belief, but you can almost excuse anyone of a Manchester United persuasion – from fans to pundits to those who are both – for feeling that way.

All have have been let down by those at the helm of the club, as they traded off the goodwill towards a United idol against underperformance on the pitch and a gradual slip below the three premier sides in the Premier League.



United have added another club legend in Ronaldo
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Image:

REUTERS)




And what’s more, it’s already happened again.

Solskjaer clearly wasn’t planning to arrange a team which included Cristiano Ronaldo in it in the months, weeks, even days before the Portuguese became available to sign in the summer, folding his arms and looking for some headlines in the wake of Lionel Messi switching clubs, garnering headlines and pocketing a sizeable signing on fee.

The signing was clearly forced upon him, safe in the knowledge that he would simply shrug his shoulders, smile that knowing smile and mutter something about Sir Alex or DNA or both. All perfectly snackable content for Ed Woodward to brag about on a conference call.



Jadon Sancho has struggled to light up Old Trafford with Man Utd




In adding Ronaldo, Solskjaer blunted the impact of his major summer signing Jadon Sancho, a player the club had spent over a year chasing.

The right hand side of the United attack was a known problem that the manager would have been pondering how to solve in his summer down-time.

Getting Sancho to work with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, initiating an effective pressing game and building on what he had implemented in the previous season would have all been on his mind.

In a stroke all of that was gone, and what’s more it was gone to widespread celebration.



Solskjaer wouldn’t have planned for Ronaldo in his team




Ronaldo isn’t the only problem of course, but throwing him into the United melting pot was always going to completely blur everything else. Ronaldo-mania would take hold in the United universe, he would have to play, and he would certainly be the story if he didn’t.

None of this is the fault of the fans of course. They are fans, they are expected to support Ronaldo and Solskjaer and revere them for what they have done for the club in the past.







That United’s ownership know this, and have effectively been exploiting it over putting the work in to build a cohesive, functioning team – something that didn’t happen for City and Liverpool overnight by the way, and hasn’t for Chelsea either – is the real crime here.

Solskjaer wasn’t up to the job, we could all see that. It was understandably harder for some to admit that because they were too close to the man, and to the history.

Big clubs can’t afford to think like that these days. The best ones don’t.

That United did, and still are, is the real cause for concern.


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