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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to be backed by Manchester United this summer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to be backed by the Old Trafford club, starting this summer. Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season, incidentally the last time United won the Premier League title, United has had three managers and none of them has received the clubs full backing.

David Moyes succeeded Ferguson, signing a six-year contract at the start of the 2013/14 season. United were the reigning Premier League champions and needed to start rebuilding as the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie were all heading into the twilight of their respective careers.

That summer, the return of Cristiano Ronaldo was touted, the club pursued Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and even Everton duo Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines. Of course, none of that happened and United signed Marouane Fellaini on deadline day, adding Juan Mata during the January transfer window. Moyes was sacked in April 2014.

Ryan Giggs was in charge for the remaining four matches of the season and was in place as the assistant for the new manager of the club, Louis van Gaal who was managing the Netherlands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, seeing them finish third, losing to Argentina on penalties in the semi-final, beating host nation Brazil 3-0 in the third-place play-off.

United signed six players that summer; Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, and Daley Blind adding Victor Valdes the following January. United managed to scrape a top four finish, coming from seventh the previous season and United was back into UEFA Champions League contention. However, the Dutchman was never really backed by the club.

There was a lot of deadwood at the club, which has become a lot more presently. I get the impression that Van Gaal was a manager United needed to bring in whilst hoping to get someone else. The following summer, Van Gaal made six more signings; Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Sergio Romero, and Anthony Martial. United finished sixth that season, winning the Emirates FA Cup. Van Gaal was sacked two days later.

Jose Mourinho was confirmed the new manager four days later. In his first summer, the Portuguese manager signed four players; Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. United finished sixth again but won the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, the latter was enough to get the club back into the Champions League. Supporters were positive about Mourinho and though the former success of the club was returning.

In his second summer, Mourinho signed three more players; Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, and re-signed Ibrahimovic for another season. In January, Alex Sanchez arrived and Mkhitaryan left for Arsenal. United finished second in the league, 19 points behind Manchester City, lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea and were knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage. The following summer would be a big one if United were to compete.

Mourinho had high hopes for United and wanted to guide them to a Premier League title. There was, however, that third season syndrome in play also. United signed Fred, Diogo Dalot, and Lee Grant but Mourinho also wanted a commanding central defender, which was not granted by the club as United had players who were better than the players Mourinho wanted, apparently.

The season started well with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City but defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion (3-2) and Tottenham Hotspur (3-0) soon changed the feeling at the Theatre of Dreams. United’s season started to fall apart. Mourinho was trending in the media and they were seeking blood and yet another sacking.

Despite him being rather toxic at times, what was said needed to be, despite people suggesting that nobody had ever criticised players in public. Ferguson notified Jaap Stam that he was leaving inside a petrol station and had beef with David Beckham, both in private and public, among others. United’s squad was not good enough to challenge, that has been seen under a new manager now.

Mourinho was eventually sacked on the 18 December 2018, two days after a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced him as caretaker manager a day later. It all started well for Solskjaer with United winning matches they may not have won under Mourinho. However, more recently, United have lost five of their last seven matches.

United still have the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League this season, however, they will need to ensure they take advantage of teams above them dropping points, as Tottenham Hotspur did against City on Saturday. Beating Everton is a must, as is getting nine more points from the remaining four matches this season.

In the summer, Solskjaer will need to look at the problems over the past six years and try to link them with any of the remaining players at the club. Many of whom have not earned a place moving forward as their best is not good enough for the club. United also has many ego players who just do not put in the performances week in and week out and need carrying more often than not. This shows the task in hand and the fact that Solskjaer needs to be backed by those above him.

When Pep Guardiola took over at Manchester City, in two seasons he had moved 18 players on; four between summer 2016 and January 2017, 12 in the summer of 2017, and two more last summer. That shows that the clubs owners and the board of directors saw that the shape of the club was not the right fit in terms of the achievements the manager had in mind. At United, it seems so much different.

Solskjaer will do things a different way as the DNA of Manchester United is that they give youth a chance to develop and turn players into superstars. That is what happened under Ferguson for nearly 27 years. Not every player achieved that feat but a lot of them did. United also had to buy players as you cannot develop players in every position. Solskjaer will need to do the same.

The one thing that rings true right now is that United have a lot of deadwood in the squad and players who may be decent footballers but they are not exactly pushing the boat out to achieve things with the club. Some of these players have supporters calling them superstars and worshipping the ground they walk on but if they really were that good, they would be performing to the best of their abilities week in and week out, achieving the objectives of the club.

Ed Woodward, the board of directors and the Glazers will need to ensure they back their manager this time, or the past six years of wasting money, achieving next to nothing and stagnating will come into effect again. The media and the supporters will always blame the manager in charge but if this happens again, as it has in effect happened three times already, the fingers should be pointing in a different direction other than Solskjaer.

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