Manchester United’s appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was an emotional decision rather than logically thought-out according to Jermaine Jenas.
Solskjaer returned to Old Trafford last December on an interim basis after the dismissal of Jose Mourinho before the powers that be gave him a three-year contract.
Solskjaer as United boss. Five things to know…
- Matches: 24
- Won-Drawn-Lost: 16-2-6
- Most used player (appearances): Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford (22)
- Top scorer (goals): Paul Pogba (11)
- As interim manager, Solskjaer had a 74% win rate, as full-time United boss it’s currently at 40%.
He started the job well having won his opening eight matches on the bounce, which included big wins over Cardiff City (1-5) and Bournemouth (4-1) as well as an FA Cup fourth-round triumph away to Arsenal (1-3).
A draw at home to Burnley was soon followed by a Champions League round of 16 first leg defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford, but the Red Devils would stunningly turn the tie around in the French capital to book a quarter-final date with Barcelona.
Recently the Manchester-based club have struggled, since taking the job full-time Solskjaer has suffered three losses in five, including both games against Barcelona – subsequently, Jenas feels United were too quick to tie him down and feels their decision to make Solskjaer the permanent boss was based on the goodwill he generates.
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“No. I felt it was an emotional decision and in any business it should be a thought-out logical decision for the long term,” he told BBC Sport.
“One of the things they need to get away from is ‘the Manchester United way’ and ‘that’s not the way they used to do it’. What Sir Alex Ferguson did was very unique and United have found it very difficult to replicate with some of the best managers in the world.
“Pep Guardiola going to Manchester City didn’t say ‘what did [Roberto] Mancini and [Manuel] Pellegrini do to win the league?’ He came in and did what he wanted to do.
“Jurgen Klopp did that at Liverpool, he had his own style. That’s what United need, I don’t think they need to try and find someone who can get close to what Ferguson has done, they need to find [a new identity]. Mourinho tried to do that but the club didn’t buy into it. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. I felt it was all emotional with Ole.”
Battle for fourth
In the space of a few weeks, United have been dumped out of the FA Cup and Champions League by Wolves and the aforementioned Barcelona respectively.
Attention now turns to securing Champions League football for another season. On arrival, United were sixth and 11 points below the top four places. They are currently third but two points below Arsenal who currently occupy fourth place.
But there’s a battle on their hands as they’re fighting not only The Gunners but Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur for two of the final spots.
Solskjaer’s men have five matches remaining this season: Everton (April 21) and relegated Huddersfield Town (May 5) away plus home matches against Manchester City (April 24), Chelsea (April 28) and Cardiff City (May 12) on the final day.