Despite earning a permanent managerial role at Manchester United, looking forward there are overhanging question marks regarding the sustainability of Ole Gunnar Solksjær’s success.
Will The Wheels Fall Off for Ole Gunnar Solksjær?
Revolution or Fool’s Gold?
Since his appointment last December, virtually everything he touched turned to gold. As exemplified by the victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, almost everything has gone their way.
It has been the ‘revolutionary’ golden age that Manchester United fans had been crying out for. From being the biggest, most respected club in world football, the Red Devils have been tepid ever since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Following unsuccessful attempts from David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, Solksjær has awoken a sleeping giant. The issue, however, is how long the Norweigan can keep his former side alive and kicking.
Manchester United’s double hiccup against Wolverhampton Wanderers suggests that there might be an expiry date to their momentum. Though for months they cruised on an upward trajectory, accumulating 32 points in 13 games, recently there have been signs that Solksjær’s Midas touch may not last forever.
Getting carried away on a tide of optimism is understandable, but hasty. Manchester United fans must think long-term, rather than obsessing over a potentially temporary glorious period.
The dust has now settled and their season could yet slip away from them. They are out of the FA Cup and face a formidable Barcelona side in the Champions League quarter-finals. To add insult to injury, Arsenal have a game in hand and a win would leave the Red Devils three points adrift of the top four.
Additionally, Solksjær’s men face a relatively difficult run-in that includes clashes against Chelsea and Manchester City. Without forecasting doom and gloom, Manchester United fans must err on the side of caution.
A Convincing Appointment?
Arguably, it is only a matter of time before Solskjaer loses control at the wheel. It is hard to ignore the fortunate nature of the victory against PSG and the shaky performances against Southampton and Watford.
While Solksjaer has found a winning formula and ways to win matches, his side have occasionally ridden their luck.
Naturally, sceptics will question his lack of experience. Other than a poor spell at Cardiff City, he has barely set the Tippeligaen alight with Molde.
Pundits such as Paul Ince, albeit obnoxiously, also questioned the difficulty of Solkjaer’s task. “I could have gone in and done the same thing”, he claimed, suggesting that all Solksjær had to do was “give players freedom and improve the mood”.
Though he has gone above and beyond, there is a degree of validity to Ince’s comments. In truth, it is easy to exaggerate the Norweigan’s impact.
Frankly, it would have taken some doing to worsen the toxicity and havoc that Jose Mourinho left behind. As history has proven time and time again, ‘golden ages’ come inevitably when the previous circumstances were so disastrous.
By inheriting a group of players hungry to prove their worth, things have fallen tidily into place. With Mourinho gone, tensions were alleviated and the pent up frustration in players such as Paul Pogba gave way to an explosion of life and desire.
Is the Honeymoon Period Over?
Ole Gunnar Solksjær could have easily quit while he was ahead. His love for Manchester United, however, has inspired a willingness to stay for the long-run.
Out of the darkness has come light but, as we know, fortune’s wheel turns inexorably for us all. Ole’s at the wheel and it feels good, the football community are constantly reminded, but his reign could eventually veer towards catastrophe. Only time will tell.
The magic may well fade but, just maybe, it won’t. Solksjær will be determined to prove that his stint so far is no flash in the pan.
Instead, his glorious revolution may long continue. Though there might be some jitters along the way, he could resuscitate Manchester United’s former glory and world-beater status.
Many have written him off as a long-term solution, but this is unwise. His Manchester United tenure is only in its infancy, but patience is required with an ambitious project such as this.