With how the season is so far panning out for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the questions are starting to be raised on which direction and which way is the football club heading. Although it’s only been two months into the 2020-21 campaign, the Red Devils have shown huge inconsistencies and weaknesses in the Premier League and the Champions League, proving that it is going to be another long season where there is no certainty of trophies and actual dominance.
For sure, the season so far in English football has been involved with many ups and downs, including the early rise of Aston Villa and Southampton as well as the unexpected downfall of both Manchester City and Manchester United. Most importantly, the key stage of the campaign will be from the first fixture after the international break up until the final match of the year, where a large number of games will be played in a short period, causing players to suffer from fatigue or injuries.
Focusing further on Solskjaer, who has a lot of critics and doubts on his name in recent months, he would have wanted these two weeks of international break more than anyone else, in order to review and amend his tactics, style of play and the way he wants to utilise the squad to full effect.
With no further ado, here are three things Ole Gunnar Solskjaer HAS to do…
Have an actual plan against the weaker teams
The Red Devils have always been known for playing with an attacking mindset and by constantly being dominant down the flanks. However, given the side’s vulnerabilities in defence, they are unable to play in the same manner the Old Trafford faithful has been used to. Under Solskjaer, the side are playing more on the counter-attack method or through individual brilliance, which is something that has proven to be unsustainable as the side fail to stroll pass the lower teams.
Although the coach has shown his personnel tactics are effective and impressive in the big fixtures in recent years, he has to remember and understand, that there are ten key matches he is prepared for throughout the campaign, whilst there are another 28 league games he does not have an actual plan or system for. And the key factor here is, without the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford in the starting line-up, the team are unable to click together and no one is willing to lead efficiently.
The midfield selection has to be consistent and correct
Since taking over as the permanent manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has failed to identify and recognise what his best midfield selection is. When looking at the main teams in Liverpool and Manchester City, there is a huge understanding of what their best midfield is, as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have respectively been able to make this clear in a matter of months. Until Solskjaer completes this, the side will continue to face difficulties on both sides of the pitch, given that the lack of balance and consistency is importantly being missed out in midfield.
With the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Donny Van de Beek, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay available, there cannot be no excuses that there is a lack of depth or quality within the midfield department. Looking at the current options in midfield, the ideal midfield trio would happen to be Bruno Fernandes, Van de Beek and Matic, which should provide the perfect mixture of creativity, experience, movement, energy and intelligence when defending and attacking.
To keep the love and support for Mason Greenwood at a high level
For sure, he is currently within the headlines of the English media outlet and not for the right reasons, but Mason Greenwood will surpass this difficult phase soon or later, and he will be back to doing what he is does best, which is running aggressively at defenders and scoring all different types of goals. Before this happens again, Solskjaer has a huge job on his hands, in order to continue to guide and support the youngster, who is going through a rough period at the age of 19-years-old.
Focusing more onto what he is capable of on the pitch, Greenwood is regarded as the most clinical forward within the squad, a statement that should not be taken lightly as the team has the likes of Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford. With his ability to play with the ball at both feet, his sharp movement in the final third of the pitch and his influential instincts at striking the ball towards goal, he simply has it all to become a world class player if he can keep his head down.