Appointing Ole as Manchester United manager would be fraught with danger

After a dramatic night in Paris, there is now no chance of the Manchester United manager’s job going to anyone but Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

By Alan Swann
Thursday, 14th March 2019, 3:00 pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates Manchester United's famous win in Paris.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates Manchester United's famous win in Paris.

And that would be a mistake by the Old Trafford hierachy.

Don’t get me wrong I admire Solksjaer and the job he has done at Old Trafford is quite magnificent. He is also a fantastic personality, but following misery guts Jose Mourinho is the easy part. Let’s face it Theresa May would have lifted some of the gloom caused by Mourinho’s moaning and non-stop negativity.

Solksjaer inherited a talented bunch of players who should be ashamed at so blatantly downing tools under their former boss.

Paris Saint-Germain players are understandably unhappy after Manchester United were awarded a last-minute penalty.

But freeing the United players from Mourinho’s defensive shackles is one thing, building your own team, one capable of challenging for the biggest honours, is an entirely different proposition.

And Solksjaer must be aware of the defensive frailties that will probably stop United winning anything this season, and that includes a top four finish in the Premier League.

Solksjaer might well be a genius talent spotter - his willingness to throw young players into the biggest games is a great credit to him - but it’s pure guesswork. There is nothing on his managerial CV to suggest he has the ability to sustain his superb start.

Compared to say, Mauricio Pochetinno, Solksjaer is a novice and would be a risky appointment. The current Spurs manager might not have won a trophy, but keeping his club in the top four with the financial restaints imposed on him by a stingy board is a fine achievement.

Anyway once the emotion had drained from the Champions League win at Paris St Germain, a calm analysis of the tie over the two legs would confirm that United were remarkably lucky to get through. To score three goals with barely any possession is most unusual. That’s not to dilute the achievement of an understrength United team (although it should be noted PSG were without their biggest star), but the French side were vastly superior in both games and ultimately suffered from a defensive blunder, a goalkeeping error and a shocking refereeing decision.

It is of course fantastic to see drama queen Neymar and ugly referee-baiter Gianluiga Buffon depart from a competition that oil money can’t always buy. And it’s impossible to believe United would have beaten PSG under their previous boss,

But United will still be the team everyone wants in the Champions League quarter-final draw. Spurs and Ajax would beat them and Porto would probably fancy their chances as well.

United will now also be burdened by expectation such has been the progress United have made under Solksjaer.

Defeat at Arsenal last weekend might be the start of a decline.

United would be wise to at least delay Solksjaer’s appointment before looking elsewhere in the summer.