When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker manager on 19 December 2018, few would have expected him to still be responsible nearly three years later.
And yet, today comes the news that the legendary Manchester United striker has been awarded a replacement contract at Old Trafford, as his fairytale story with the club continues, and therefore the Red Devils themselves finally put a string of poor managerial appointments behind them during this difficult post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
How has it all fallen together so well for Solskjaer? His old team-mate Luke Chadwick isn’t too surprised to ascertain him using the qualities he had as a player to good effect within the dugout, albeit he’s aware that, back then, many Man Utd fans probably would’ve picked out the likes of Roy Keane or Gary Neville as future managers.
“He was always really studious of the sport ,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “He loved football. you’ll see the impact he’d make coming off the bench because he was studying the sport and see where the space was for him to return on and make an impression .
“It was very apparent that each one the players worked very hard, but he would go above and beyond. He would spend tons of your time within the gym trying to form himself stronger so he could compete physically within the Premier League. He was referred to as a kind of baby-faced assassin, but there was tons of labor that went into it to urge himself during a position to possess a true positive impact at the club.”
After numerous difficult and unhappy times under the iron-fisted Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, Solskjaer was a really clear breath of fresh air for these players, with Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw among those to actually enjoy twiddling with more freedom on the pitch thanks to the trust of their manager.
Again, Chadwick isn’t surprised to ascertain this approach pay off, as he hailed Solskjaer as a “fantastic person” whose approachable style makes him ideal for management within the modern game.
“He was an incredible person – always supportive, always someone to speak to,” Chadwick said. “Quite a quiet guy, but you’ll see really cared about the club, he cared about how everyone within the room was.
“Back then you would’ve checked out the likes of Roy Keane and Gary Neville, who were really vocal leaders, with the way that they played and spoke. They were probably those they were those who’d continue and become successful managers within the future, but i feel the game’s changed tons since then.
“I think how Ole is as an individual , the way he treats his players, you’ll see he’s got tons of emotional intelligence, tons of empathy with the way that he speaks. i feel he’s got more out of players than a number of the previous managers have done, even those who were perceived as being difficult to manage; Pogba’s probably playing the simplest football of his Man United career, and that i think Ole’s an enormous reason for that. Martial didn’t have an excellent season this term but the year before that was a number of the simplest form he’s shown during a Man United shirt.”
Chadwick has also previously spoken to us about Shaw’s improvement especially , saying a couple of months back: “It’s a case of knowing your players. Luke Shaw was perhaps a player who needed an arm around him, he’d had a troublesome time, suffered an awful injury therein game in Holland a couple of years ago, and that i think Ole’s the right man to guide Luke Shaw into the state he’s in today.”
Needless to mention , Chadwick is pleased to ascertain his old team-mate get a replacement contract, saying he can finally see something being built at United after numerous disappointments under the previous managers who’ve been appointed since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
“I think if the club want to create something then i feel a replacement contract may be a good idea, because he’s shown improvement every season since he’s been there,” Chadwick said.
“Obviously he’ll be disappointed not go further within the FA Cup and to lose the Europa League final, but they’ve finished second within the Premier League, which shows improvement from last season.
“A manager must be there for an extended time to possess real success – you check out Klopp’s record at Liverpool and that i think Ole stands up thereto in terms of his first two years responsible . i feel him signing a replacement deal may be a huge positive for the club – it lays the foundations for a positive future.”
Some critics still feel the Norwegian tactician is lacking a ‘philosophy’ within the way that the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have implemented at their clubs, to great success. Chadwick, however, feels United’s style is showing signs of developing into something more sophisticated from the marginally one-dimensional counter-attacking style that he used when he first took over.
“More than that (philosophy) i feel he just must win trophies. Obviously Klopp and Guardiola both play different sorts of football, but what the attraction to them is that wherever they’ve been, they’ve won trophies,” Chadwick said.
“Obviously Ole’s at one among the most important clubs within the world and therefore the pressure’s huge but i feel there’s an identity forming also … the type of quick players looking to interrupt quickly, but at the highest end that’s not always getting to work.
“I think the identity has kind of grown and evolved this season. sometimes last season it had been purely a counter-attacking brand of football, but this season they’ve shown alternative ways of getting results, getting more possession and searching more confident on the ball.
“I think Ole may be a lot more inexperienced than Guardiola and Klopp but his way of playing is evolving. He’s beginning to find the foremost effective ways for United to play, he’s changed his tactics in certain games that have come off rather well . it’ll take time, it comes with experience, but give him time and that i think he can move this team forward.”
So, why did it fail for Solskjaer’s predecessors? Interestingly, Chadwick feels that the success of the present United boss perhaps shows that, of all the post-Ferguson appointments, it had been David Moyes who maybe deserved longer within the job.
“I think it had been always getting to be a more or less impossible job for David Moyes,” Chadwick said. “He was taking up from probably the simplest manager in football history. He had to hit the bottom running to appease the supporters and it didn’t quite compute .
“Did they let him go too early? Having seen what’s happened post-David Moyes, maybe that was the case. The club wanted instant success but it didn’t really work on all with Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho.
“I think now the club is beginning to see, once you reminisce at the beginning of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, he had a troublesome time to start with but was as long as time to create something incredible. i feel that was the plan with David Moyes originally, but because the primary season went the way it did i feel the club rushed to vary things.
“Van Gaal came in and was an enormous name, but didn’t really deliver what the club was trying to find . Moyes features a wonderful record within the Premier League … he did an incredible job at Everton and seems to be doing an equivalent at West Ham now so i feel his record speaks for itself. It obviously didn’t compute at Man United, it had been straight after Sir Alex and he had to deliver immediately which was always getting to be a troublesome ask.
“Obviously Jose Mourinho’s another incredible manager but it appeared like another rushed decision because he was available. I’m unsure it had been ever the proper fit Manchester United in terms of what the club’s all about, in terms of the design of football that’s been played at the club over the years.
“Jose spoke openly about staying at a club for a particular amount of your time before moving on. United’s different with the culture of giving a teacher an extended period of your time to remain and build something. Mourinho’s different; I’m unsure he would’ve stayed albeit he had had success, given the way he’s been with other clubs within the past. Ole just seems to suit the mould of the club better than Van Gaal and Mourinho have.”
Fitting the mould isn’t always enough for the very best level, as we saw when Chelsea ultimately decided to part ways with Frank Lampard. watching the moment success of Thomas Tuchel when he replaced the Blues legend, perhaps United might’ve been tempted to undertake taking place an identical route.
Instead, we’re now close to determine just how far fitting the mould can get you.