Manchester United have finished their campaign, another one in which they have not won a trophy. The Red Devils have made improvements looking at overall results, especially in the Premier League, where they finished as runners-up to Manchester City. However, the results in other three cup competitions were not ideal, since the team did not win at least one of them. In the League Cup, they ended up losing in the semifinal, in the FA Cup one round earlier, while in the Europa League they got to the final. Still, the penalty shoot-out was won by Villarreal and this Man United will now be at least five years without a single trophy won.
That begs the question – what now for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Solskjaer Brought Stability
We need a bit of a context. It has been eight years since Sir Alex Ferguson decided to end his managerial career and since then, Man United got themselves in a lot of mess. David Moyes’ not even completed season at the helm was terrible, before Louis van Gaal arrived. His football was against everything the club prided on, uninteresting and dull, and he brought a single FA Cup, after which he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Another new manager in quick succession which was completely different to his predecessor meant Man United were once again going in different direction, even though it mostly felt the club did not know in which direction they actually want to go. Mourinho did bring trophies in League Cup and Europa League, but afterwards he managed to burn all bridges between him and the players, him and the fans, him and the board…
In came Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose two and a half years at the club did not bring any trophies, but it did bring stability. The Norwegian was brought in to work with a team that was to rely more on youngsters and he did that well. This side did improve under Solskjaer, but mostly through the team having better individuals.
Solskjaer Must Evolve Or The Club Should Make A Change
After the Europa League final, which quite nicely summed up Solskjaer’s entire time at the club, it became obvious Man United need to make a decision this summer. If Solskjaer is to stay and be the future of the club, he needs to evolve, because the style of football he is trying to get results with is simply not going to be good enough for the highest level. We saw that in the Champions League last season. Solskjaer’s main plan seemed to be to chuck in the best 11 players on the pitch and have faith in their individual qualities.
But United will need an intricate system, a playing style that will revolve around complex attacking patterns of play which we have not seen under Solskjaer nor Mourinho. That kind of football is what brought immediate success to Chelsea, catapulting them to a Champions League final. If Solskjaer cannot evolve tactically, then the time for his departure might be getting closer…