It was November 22, 2021 when Manchester United decided to part company with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the club have been floundering ever since.
Two years ago to the very day, after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat by Watford, the Red Devils decided they had seen enough from Solskjaer from his three-and-a-half year stint in the managerial hot seat.
Solskjaer, who famously helped United clinch the Champions League trophy in Barcelona back in 1999 against Bayern Munich, seemed a beaten and broken man - ostracised by the club he so clearly adored. But the twinkle in his eye had diminished and the spring in his step had well and truly gone.
Despite taking the club to within one kick of the Europa League trophy just six months prior, Solskjaer’s reign at United soon became untenable due to a series of admittedly poor performances, but the destabilising effect of Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival was the real reason for his demise.
Ole Brought Attacking Identity
I’ve spent far too many years from the comfort of one of my many plush leather armchairs to know Manchester United are meant to be an attacking, free-scoring phenomenon - something Solskjaer tried desperately to implement.
In the first game of the 2021/22 season, United beat Leeds 5-1 at home and it seemed everything had clicked into place. Then Ronaldo arrived at the end of August, and the goals for the rest of the team dried up. Whilst CR7 continued to shine, United became dull and flat.
In the ensuing years under both Ralf Rangnick and now Erik ten Hag, Manchester United are devoid of identity and possess no fear factor about them. At least under ‘the Baby-Faced Assassin’ there was something about United; the players had an identity to adhere to and standards that had to be met.
I know from experience that every story needs a seemingly omnipotent bad guy, I’m sure there are more than enough jealous counterparts who envy my successes, but Manchester United have lacked that swagger and arrogance since Solskajer and could do a lot worse than bringing him back.
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