Solskjaer’s last stand and the respect he deserves

Solskjaer’s last stand and the respect he deserves. 

Solskjaer's last stand and the respect he deserves. 

There is something we all need to admit to ourselves; being a manager of Manchester United comes with untold pressure and intense scrutiny. Whether it’s Leeds fans singing “Ole’s at the wheel” in a game that has absolutely nothing to do with United, or pundits and journalists being disrespectful to the manager in their coverage of the club, or just a section of United fans spewing abuse on social media while questioning Solskjaer`s mentality towards winning. 

Despite the abuse he is sure to receive in the few days running up to the game against Spurs, which could ironically be his last, no manager would handle it with more elegance and integrity than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would. There seems to be a genuine hatred for the man, a hatred that is amplified more times on social media. 

Perhaps this hatred stems from the fact that many do not view him as an “elite coach,” a concept that has become contaminated with the idea that you need to act and behave a certain way on the touchline for you to get respect. But then you have questions about his mentality towards winning which aren’t necessarily even questions but a certain degree of mockery and ridicule all directed towards a man who has consistently reiterated that finishing second or getting a runners-up medal is far from good enough. 

Few expected Solskjaer to be offered a full-time deal when he took over as caretaker manager from Jose Mourinho. After his incredible run, the majority of the fan base effectively pressured the board into signing him, and rightfully so. He was fearless, allowing the players (who were probably of lesser quality at the time) to express themselves on the pitch. 

Solskjaer's last stand and the respect he deserves. 

Rational people cannot deny how the United legend has transformed the team and made it one of the most attractive projects in world football. The victory in Paris during the Champions League knockout stages, the 2-year unbeaten run in the league, back-to-back top 3 finishes, and the Europa League final. The medical department’s overhaul, the emphasis on fitness, the revitalization of youth development, and the club’s overall culture. Solskjaer has done an excellent job of rebuilding the club in the wake of Mourinho’s exit.

The squad seemed to have come to a screeching halt. Their defensive record is appalling, and the defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford was the tipping point for many of his ardent supporters. According to several reports, some of the players have lost faith in him. Most fans are now doubting the tactical framework and coaching staff’s competence, as well as the players’ commitment. Despite everything, Solskjaer has not been remotely hostile. He continues to place all of the blame on himself and has refused to single out any particular player for criticism, things his predecessor utterly failed to do when he was on the verge of being fired.

While the gaffer is still on the job and has apparently overseen a training session at Carrington, the next three games before the international break are absolutely critical for his future. In the past, when he has his back to the wall, he has often produced some fantastic results. However, this time feels quite different as there seems to be genuine dissent within the squad. It is still unclear whether he has lost the majority of the players’ faith, but a small minority of them appears to be against him at the moment, and there seems to be no way for him to change that yet. 

As a fan, I’m anxious for him to take risks because his next game could be his last. At this moment, he stands to lose virtually nothing if he is going to be sacked regardless of any decisions he makes. Being brave enough to make difficult decisions may be the difference between saving his job or sealing his fate. 

However, if he does leave, he will do so knowing that he left the club in better shape than the toxic disaster he found it in. The fans will always be grateful for that and give him the respect he deserves even when the media continues to do the exact opposite. 

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