Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's real test: Can Manchester United bounce back?
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Manchester United fans must be pinching themselves. From the dreadfully dull Jose Mourinho, to the bold, brash Baby Faced Assassin. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has completely turned around the Red Devils' future in just over a month. Friend or foe, you have to admit that's quite remarkable.
Last time out, though, United lost their 100% winning record at home to Burnley. Pre-match, that's a game you'd have fancied Solskjaer's men to win handily. However, with 87 minutes on the clock and the Old Trafford crowd groaning at being 2-0 down, you'd take a draw every single time come the final whistle.
Solskjaer made a mistake against Burnley, it's allowed. However, under Mourinho, there is no way those players find a way to salvage a point from that game. The grit, the determination, the fighting spirit has been reinstilled. United feel like United again...
Whether you like it or not, that was Solskjaer's first bump in the road. He tinkered with the team too much. Whether that's down to overconfidence after a good spell, or due to the fact that the Norwegian just felt players needed resting remains to be seen. Now, it's about how you bounce back.
We've seen it time and time again, any club worth their due can go on long winning spells. Once the momentum begins to build, it's somewhat easier to go out there and play your natural game. Confidence levels would have taken a small hit in that Old Trafford dressing room on Tuesday night. Now, they're staring adversity in the face. It's Solskjaer's job to keep spirits and morale high - although the fixture list has been rather unkind in that regard...
Leicester City away. The Foxes, both at home and on the road, have become giant-killers, just ask Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City; all of whom have dropped points to Claude Puel's men over the last month or so. On Sunday, the King Power will be rocking, Solskjaer's men will have to stand up and be counted as they look to prove themselves worthy of a top-four finish.
This is a true test of Solskjaer's managerial mettle. The elite bosses will come out firing, ensuring that they send a strong message to everyone else. It's about a belief in the system, a belief that last time out was just a glitch rather than an overriding problem. That's where Mourinho struggled, and once those poor results begin to build up, heads in the dressing room start to drop.
Thankfully for Solskjaer, the players at United are likely feeling more forgiving. They're still deep in their honeymoon period, they're loving life in their new attack-minded system, being happy certainly helps.
I don't think it's an understatement to suggest that this is the game that Edward Woodward will be watching on most keenly since Solskjaer's debut. Don't forget that it's by no means a given the Baby Faced Assassin will be given the job permanently. Sure, I feel like the ball is now in his court after recent slip-ups from Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur, but if Solskjaer fails to prove he can adapt, and perform when the pressure is at it's maximum, then what's the point in giving him a long-term contract?
This Sunday, all eyes will be on the situation that unfolds at the King Power...