News ID: 237952
Published: 0322 GMT January 26, 2019

Solskjaer's effect at United more than just emotional

Solskjaer's effect at United more than just emotional
Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after his team’s FA Cup victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, London, Britain, on January 25, 2019.

As a melee broke out near the corner of the Arsenal goal at the end of FA Cup tie between the Gunners and Manchester United, Paul Pogba stood back and just did a few stretches with a smile on his face, seemingly amused by the whole scene.

It was in its own way a snapshot of why United has snapped back into life again, The Independent reported.

Key players are so content and comfortable in themselves, while others are more than happy to complement that by fighting for the cause.

This is the emotional effect Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had, but it is only the foundation for something much forensic than many had anticipated.

The manager himself spoke afterward about how he felt the tactical structure was much better than in the 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur.

“Today we looked more like a proper team,” Solskjaer said.

They look so much more like a proper United team. They look like the good team they should be. A group of very good players have been allowed to be exactly that.

While all of this has impressively given rise to a run of eight successive wins since Solskjaer took the job, it does also actually reflect one undisputed success that Jose Mourinho did have.

Yes, it might feel a little tedious to return to what is now very definitively the past, but it is becoming more relevant with every new win.

Perhaps Mourinho’s greatest feat at Old Trafford – and one area he very much remains at the forefront of – was in convincing so many people that the conditions he had to work in were so poor; that the players he had to work with were so unsatisfactory. It's actually remarkable now you reflect on it.

And what of the United-associated pundits that seemed so unwilling to criticize the manager, and so often laid into the players? There were occasionally some remarkable comments made, like the idea that they could barely play a ball five yards.

That has been visibly been blown away. Here we had Luke Shaw surging forward and playing a brilliant 40-yard ball with the outside of his foot to initiate a counter-attack that recalled so many of the great United performances and goals against Arsenal. It was also entirely by design, since Solskjaer revealed afterward that he had been showing the squad videos of the strikes at this stadium from Sir Alex Ferguson’s great last years as manager.

United just has a verve about it again, but also has an idea the players can all believe in. It’s just a happy atmosphere. And sure, some kind of crash will inevitably come. Solskaer even acknowledged how his United has not yet been behind in a game, and that will represent another test to be passed.

But it’s already getting to the point where even two successive defeats won’t seem to matter as much as they might have. There’s already so much credit built up, such a strong foundation.

There’s certainly an argument building. United sources say there was previously pretty much no intention of hiring him long-term but it’s now definitely a possibility. He’s had that much of an effect. It’s all that much happier. It’s quite a turnaround. Quite a different picture.


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