Equal Time: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's positivity is turning into hypocrisy
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Jose Mourinho was far too negative since the summer of 2018. There is no denying that. The self-proclaimed Special One's mood transferred between the media sessions and within the dressing rooms, eventually finding its way onto the pitch. The players weren’t motivated anymore. As a result, the performances were bad and Manchester United were losing games all-too-regularly. Mourinho was sacked. In came Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - who focused on what he had rather than what he didn’t while conducting business with a smile.
In lieu of the ‘supposed’ positivity and happiness, United went over nine hours without scoring from open play. They finished sixth, 32 points behind the champions and only securing Europa League football in the 2019/20 season. The gap increased by 13 points from the previous campaign. City did not improve, United regressed under Solskjaer. The baby-faced assassin kept smiling as the Red Devils lost on the final day to already relegated Cardiff City.
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While the Norwegian's charm turned a few heads at the beginning of his tenure, what was once a welcome change now has gone overboard. Solskjaer has called the fans out, describing them as disillusioned. He's contradicting himself and showing how utterly out of his depth he is. How can a club's manager be allowed to say that the loudest supporters are not the best? The same noisy ones sit at the historic Stretford End week-in-week-out, earning the title of the world's best in some people's eyes. Yet, their own manager doesn't appreciate them. How is this positivity?
Once upon a time, Solskjaer promised that playing for Manchester United had to mean more. That the ones who did not give their all will leave the club in the summer. After the draw against Huddersfield, he said some players simply wouldn't be here for much longer. I'm guessing he wasn't talking about Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia, two men who played their hearts out for United during their tenures. Both showed the hunger to wear the badge but were eventually let go. So far, the likes of Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones still remain at the club.
Just who was Solskjaer talking about, then, following the 4-0 drubbing to Everton?
"We have to get players in and some players will have to go out." Said Solskjaer after United's embarrasing defeat.
United's boss is trying to sugarcoat the obvious flaws and is simply unable to do that. Any sane man can see how everything is tumbling at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, Solskjaer has turned into a puppet for Edward Woodward. He has been told to hammer home in the press that everything is going well. Every time the 46-year-old talks to the media, he makes sure he says that either Asia is fantastic or the boys are training excellently. It seems fake and is helping no one.
Solskjaer talks about 'realism' but hasn't yet understood the harsh reality of the present situation.
The ex-United #20 is simply digging up his own grave. He supposedly favours youth, yet Young, Rojo, Jones and Chris Smalling are ahead of Diogo Dalot and Axel Tuanzebe in the pecking order. How does that work?
Solskjaer has gone from praising United's squad as being full of quality to calling those same players out. Now he's back praising them again, saying they 'want' to play for the badge. It won't be long before those mediocre footballers underperform again, leaving their manager hapless during the mid-season battle for Premier League positioning.
The gaffer recently said he had daily meetings with the recruitment team and there was an assumed 'rebuild' happening in the summer. July is about to end and United have signed two players, one from Crystal Palace and another from Swansea City.
Solskjaer’s arrogant comments would’ve been true in 2009 or 1999, not now.
"We have to make sure that we are getting closer and moving that way up the table and not looking over the shoulders because there are big clubs, good clubs wanting to chase that top six." Solskjaer said.
"You've got Leicester [City], Everton, Watford, probably Newcastle [United], you've got clubs that want to chase us.
On the one hand, Ole is bigging up United’s history and the supposed ‘DNA’, saying that Manchester United do not 'need' to sell. But his actions are louder than his words and said decisions completely oppose those of the United Way. He wants his team to play out from the back yet continuously starts Smalling, who has to turn his entire body around to play a 5-yard side pass. The centre-back was deemed not good enough for an England side which clearly has its issues, but yet, he is consistently starting for the biggest club in the land.
Solskjaer also said that the owners have invested loads of money, but the mathematical fact is the Glazer family have actually TAKEN OUT over a billion pounds from the club. [Guardian]. But, without doubt, the biggest contradiction of all came when United's boss joined these same 'loud' fans in 2005, battling against the Glazer takeover.
While Solskjaer's work on the pitch is clearly visible, the press is better and co-ordinated, there is a tempo to United's game and the team looks well structured, his antics are a big cause for concern. Anything overdone is bad; positivity is no exception. There has to be a grey area wherein you take notice of the bad things as well. Ole, so far, has showed a figure of a naive man. Whether he learns it on the job remains to be seen...