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Manchester United are back, and the rest of the football world can’t be happy!

In May of 2012 Manchester United fans were hit with the inevitable retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. During his long tenure with the club, Sir Alex followed the traditional attacking style that United has known for so long, and added his own personal spin on the club’s playing style, which ended up creating a dynasty that fans around the world quickly fell in love with and will never forget.

When United won the title that same year, and David Moyes was chosen as the new manager, things began to take a downward turn through a wormhole of possession football, and micro-managing tactics used by our new managers whether it be Moyes, Louis van Gaal, or Jose Mourinho that caused the club to perform well under par. To make matters worse, it is safe to say that United has an especially big target on their backs when it comes to opposition.

So, on top of their lacking performances, they were met with opponents who were absolutely hungry for a win against them. They came in smelling the blood of an already weakened squad and capitalised on every weakness United had. Since then United has seen a few rough seasons, not even seeing a top three finish until last season when they finally finished second.

It seemed as though the players had almost no life in them, and there were constant rumours of player/manager feuds going on behind the scenes, most recently Paul Pogba was rumoured to be near the end of his patience with Jose Mourinho. The team chemistry and the attacking mentality that helped the club flourish years prior seemed to be just about on its deathbed.

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Fortunately, nearly six years, and three managers later, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. In this light, we can see a man that is already known and loved from a previous era, a man who already brought United joy on a night in Barcelona back in 1999. This man is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he is bringing back that old Manchester United from the 1990s and 2000s that we came to know and love so well.

United’s players are more galvanised than they have ever been since Sir Alex was in charge and attacking football, oh how you have been missed. The difference from this managerial change is night and day. Before December a majority of us supporters can honestly say that we didn’t think United had a chance in the UEFA Champions League. Especially after they drew Paris Saint-Germain, who some believed were a contender for the competition.

United was pretty much counted out, and well thanks to Solskjaer, now we get to see the Champions League quarter-finals. Sir Alex was also a huge supporter of developing United’s players young, something that definitely disappeared with his retirement. Youth players for the past six seasons since have really only seen action in very widely gapped matches between United and their opposition. Only if it were almost a certain win for the club, were they given the chance.

Also, the second they showed any sign of amateurism they were subbed and were lucky to see another appearance, especially under Van Gaal and Mourinho. Now, while Solskjaer is at some point required to use his youth players at the moment due to the injury list being quite extensive, he’s doing it with a long leash for the lads. He still lets them take a risk or two and when they mess up, he hasn’t shoved them to the back of the room to never be seen again. If they don’t mess up, they don’t learn, they don’t improve.

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Solskjaer knows that if he never throws them onto the pitch in a critical match or derby, they will never shake the nerves that come with those matches, and thus, will never get to the calibre necessary to be a regular starter. With all this taken into account, there’s no way that other Premier League clubs, as well as Champions League clubs, aren’t paying attention to what is happening at United.

Solskjaer in his short time here at United has completely transformed the club back to its elite class, something that the Premier League may not have been ready for. Clubs are starting to show fear when coming to Old Trafford again, the way it should be. No longer are United a potentially easy win for some clubs (any club at that matter after their performance against PSG), and the football world is starting to notice again.

We can all remember when United was called an “arrogant” club by opposition supporters when everyone hated the club for being the best in the Premier League consistently. That arrogance is what made United the club it is though in all honesty, being the best requires the best players, the best ground, the best manager, but most importantly, and without this last thing everything else is just about useless, from every soul involved in the club, it requires the best heart and determination.

That’s what makes Manchester United what it is. That is what makes the other clubs fear us, and if Solskjaer keeps this pace, United will be back and more arrogant than ever, just how we like it.

Written by Joel Dulka

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