Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Under Pressure as Mauricio Pochettino Linked with Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously dismissed any concerns surrounding the links between Manchester United and Mauricio Pochettino. Indeed, as per Gideon Brookes of the Express, Solskjaer said in a press conference; “It doesn’t bother me at all because I’ve got the best job in the world.” However, the rumours of where Pochettino will go next continue to circle. Solskjaer must turn his team’s form around if he doesn’t want to be the next manager to be axed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Under Pressure as Mauricio Pochettino Linked with Manchester United

Mauricio Pochettino‘s sacking leaves a shadow looming over Solskjaer’s head, meaning margin for further error has all but diminished. The Argentine is a candidate to take the Old Trafford helm should Solskjaer depart, with tough fixtures approaching. Life without the Norwegian boss may be just around the corner.

As the VAR ruled Oli McBurnie’s last gasp equaliser as a fair goal, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s heart must have sunk. A spirited turnaround cancelled out leaving Manchester United 9th in the Premier League, a point behind their opponents, Sheffield United.

A Poor Tactical Approach

Many were quick to criticise the tactics of Ole in the aftermath of Sunday’s game, with United matching the Blades’ three defender system. Playing the system that they are extremely well drilled in meant that Chris Wilder’s men were comfortable. Fred and Andreas Pereira could not keep up with the work rate of their opponents, whilst Phil Jones struggled to fit in the back three. In summary, United paid too much respect to Sheffield United on Sunday.

This has been a symbol of the season so far. A lack of an identity in which United impose themselves on others, instead, changing to suit their matchup.

When finally changing back to a back four and playing on the front foot, United turned the game on its head. Three goals coming from nice build-up play out wide, finished by academy graduates, hailed back to successes of the past. If only this was replicated over 90 minutes, rather than 15 minutes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows how to get a tune out of the whistle, so it is baffling when he does not seem to blow it. Unfortunately, he appears to be too reactive and not proactive, which is one of Mauricio Pochettino’s major qualities.

What Could Pochettino Change?

Firstly, the ex-Spurs boss would implement a clear identity at Old Trafford. It is no real secret that Poch’s sides are essentially based around a high pressing system. A successful team requires a well-drilled tactical approach. That kind of high energy and pace going forward may have secured victories against the likes of Bournemouth and Newcastle.

Adopting such an energetic system and focusing on the transitions may get the best out of Paul Pogba. In his reign at Tottenham, Pochettino managed to get Dele Alli to an elite level as an attacking goalscoring midfielder. Pogba’s attacking ability is clear for everyone to see, although his two managers at United so far have failed to get the best out of him. A fit and motivated Paul Pogba is integral to a side that has a lacklustre midfield otherwise. Motivating Pogba is essential so he can be someone that younger players can look up to.

Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Time up at Old Trafford?

It must be noted that the work currently done with the younger players is admirable. The goals from Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood at the weekend are a testament to this. The one consistent positive from Solskjaer’s reign is the chance that the academy graduates have to express themselves. Pochettino will be pleased with the younger players breaking through at United. The Argentine has been lauded for his work with Spurs’ younger players, making the link to Manchester United a bit more tangible.

Despite the talk and unrest amongst fans, it is important to know that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still the boss. Recent reports suggest that he has a good relationship with the board at Old Trafford. Results are not pleasing and some of the performances have been below what is expected, however, Ed Woodward is unlikely to react. The shadow of Pochettino may be looming large over Ole, but Woodward and the Glazer’s appear to buy into the Norwegian’s vision of building a young squad to challenge in the future. The main question is: How much short term pain for long term gain is acceptable?

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