Manchester United reporters’ notebook: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is coming of age Tottenham | Football news
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returned to Manchester United in 2018, he saw that he was coming home, returning to the familiar environment in which he flourished.
Those who decided to return him believed that he could also be a man to recover some of the values and principles that had disappeared since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
However, even though Solskjaer has always enjoyed Old Trafford, there is that feeling being comfortable as a United manager has taken more time to get around his head.
What Solskjaer achieved on and off the pitch in Tottenham on Sunday is perhaps the biggest sign that the Norwegian has achieved one of the most studied roles in world football and enjoys the challenges and rewards it brings.
Solskjaer’s team shows strength on the field
On the pitch, it was a response driven by anger or injustice, with United making a strong play, starting with six outside players played during Jose Mourinho’s time and a pair of discarded former leaders.
Scott McTominay – chosen to receive special praise and chosen for Mourinho’s more prized recognition – spoke calmly during the break and asked for a patient search for solutions and goals. That plan was carried out brilliantly, scoring 28 points in the Premier League rescued from losing positions.
“Progress” is a word that arises a lot in discussions about the direction United lead, but in evidence of performances by players like Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw, it seems that individuals are flourishing and what the team as a whole has to offer is also more compelling.
Solskjaer shows off his steel
Off the field, Solskjaer has always offered clear and positive behavior. What he has done expertly in more difficult times is to hide the fire that lurks beneath that cheerful face. Talk to his teammates or the people who were at the club when he was a player and they will tell you about a specific, guided and intelligent young man.
There’s steel running through Solskjaer, something that was apparent to many who came across it, and whether he was correcting the mistake of punishing Old Trafford’s 6-1 defeat against Spurs in October, the United manager showed his teeth in his response. which banned Tottenham Hotspur from scoring their first goal.
Everyone is looking for moments of special importance, but it seemed to me that this was one of those cases where Solskjaer felt like he had enough power to walk first in enemy territory. This time last year he may not have been so ready to talk about the impact or trajectory of McTominay’s right hand, but after a decisive victory, he made the choice to go on the attack as rarely seen in United’s time. .
While the nature of the win will dazzle the director, lately there will also be restructuring behind it, with promotions for people Solskjaer knows and trusts. Yes, he was surprised by Nicky Butt’s sudden departure from another hero at Old Trafford, but it’s Darren Fletcher’s entry and John Murtough’s elevation are moves to strengthen Ole’s hand and give him more certainty about how to move forward.
… and the new contract in sight?
In an interview last week, Solskjaer tried to put the comment “they can mask trophies” in context, and explained to me that he sees the silver bowl as the third stage in the process that begins with consistency and momentum. Old Trafford’s power mediators have appeared pleased with the work behind Solskjaer with the improvements of the first team and, although every negotiation is unique, I don’t expect too many blows in the talks to extend his contract. when the season finally ends.
With only one defeat in their last 25 Premier League games, United fans continue to chase more than Manchester City. But after the defeat of “noisy neighbors” at home against Leeds and a second win for United in a nine-game win over Spurs, the debate has suddenly turned to “what if?” The Reds still have a game on their hands in the Sky Blues. That win, and it’s an eight-point difference with six games left.
I have said this season that United supporters have been pleased with the title interview this season, and while none of them are making any special excitement, Solskjaer wants to get second place, which would surely beat Mourinho. proudly, since May 2018.
Maybe writing for De Gea is on the wall
Solskjaer is tired of the national debate over the state of the goalkeeper he leads, and is preparing to be beaten or twisted in front of David de Gea and Dean Henderson. At Spurs, he made the decision to leave his best team and although this is debating whether or not to include Mason Greenwood, it doesn’t seem like he’s getting into De Gea.
The Spaniard may be able to get his gloves back on a visit to Granada in the Europa League on Thursday, but both form and age are in Henderson’s favor, as is the economy. That said, because of his salary, it will be a challenge to find a new De Gea club this summer. Players will already know Solskjaer’s thought process and perhaps even if he doesn’t tell reporters who his number 1 is, the two men will know how the ground looks ahead.
And Cavani’s future?
Edinson Cavani’s situation is strange. The goal against Tottenham showed his predatory instinct and, as a striker, Solskjaer is well aware of the movement and application he wants to see more of than his previous men. Cavani’s age is not the problem and United also seem to be playing stronger.
If the salary paid and the chances of being in Champions League football aren’t enough to extend the time at Old Trafford, maybe it’s a simple family factor that the pandemic has garnered a lot of attention, and that’s turning its head. back to South America.
Solskjaer would like to keep the Uruguayan, but the deal should be appropriate for both parties and he is a United coach who would not hinder the ties between a player’s relatives. However, another season for Cavani would also remove the need to introduce more firepower in the summer and then save money that could be spent on strengthening other areas.
When that happens with Cavani, United will have to get into the transfer window faster. This does not mean that there will be no expenses, but it is possible to make the best use of the available funds by paying enough attention to the exit process along the lines of the last summer window.
Pogba is as happy as ever
One component that is missing right now is the murmur that often goes along with Pogba at this time of year. The French midfielder seems to be as happy as a United shirt, allied to fit and hungry, giving him the tools to exploit a talent he has always agreed on.
In the Spurs, Pogba provided another reminder: if Bruno Fernandes doesn’t shoot or stops playing, he has the talents to tackle those challenges. The third goal was an example, the ability of Pogba to pass gears when he wants to, and maybe it’s gratifying at the end of a tough game.
The reality is, however, that the window of the upcoming transfer will be to direct the team and add quality to it, which is perhaps the first time since Pogba returned that there are more reasons to stay than to leave.
Has Greenwood solved the right wing problem?
I started talking about the ideals and traditions that Manchester United loved and this piece was given to the club in 1999 when it presented one of its most dramatic and decisive moments. It could be a strange clinical way to describe United DNA. what it means to be a member of a football club, but it’s something that both players have an interesting summer.
The first of these is Greenwood and he has once again shown his rare skills and the goal would be to take his manager to the airport if the 19-year-old were to be called up to Gareth Southgate’s England team for the European Championships. Greenwood is not a natural right winger, but it adds enough threat and quality to the target to allow the development of another young Amad Traore.
At a time when money needs to be stretched, Greenwood’s progress may well say that a wide player is no longer at the top of the transfer wish list as he was last summer, when Jadon Sancho continued to be so active.
Lingard may still have a unified future
Another graduate of the academy, all of a sudden, can hardly predict in advance even in that discussion. Jesse Lingard’s loan to West Ham was a win for both the player and United, but David Moyes ’side also benefited him more than anyone expected.
Solskjaer speaks with great pleasure to the young Lingard who made his debut in Burnley many years ago, but the next conversation between the couple lies about how the future may lie compared to the conversation in January. Lingard remains a well-known member of the United dressing room, and his fate will depend on the role or number of games he will be offered, especially if he also joins the European Championship team.
So there are plenty of variables for United fans and their managers to reflect on in the coming months, and there are also some very positive indications that Solskjaer is making good progress.
He would also agree that winning the Europa League would be a real sign of intent for him and his players.