Wednesday 23 January 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s in-tray at Manchester United

A look at the key issues which need tackling at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of issues to tackle in his new job (Dave Thompson/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of issues to tackle in his new job (Dave Thompson/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as caretaker manager at Manchester United until the end of the season.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the key issues for the former fans’ favourite to address when he walks into his new office.

United front

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The relationship between Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho was strained (Martin Rickett/PA)

During the latter stages of the tenure of former boss Jose Mourinho, the United squad appeared to be becoming as divided as the fan base. Reports of dressing-room unrest and high-profile falling-outs with key men such as France midfielder Paul Pogba all did little to present a happy camp. While former striker Solskjaer will already have plenty of warmth from the Red Devils fans, ingratiating himself to the team, while also commanding their respect, will be key to progress.

Get Alexis back on song

When Alexis Sanchez joined United from Arsenal during January, the Chile forward was expected to go on to bigger and better things at Old Trafford. Sanchez, though, has looked a shadow of the tenacious attacker which helped carry the Gunners as Arsene Wenger’s long stay was coming to an end. Getting the best of his undoubted talents in a red shirt for United should be high on Solskjaer’s to-do list.

Attack, attack, attack

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Pogba had called for United to go back on the offensive (Martin Rickett/PA)

Mourinho’s tactics were often perceived as negative – and not only on the terraces. For so long United were synonymous with free-flowing, attacking football, which they only showed in patches under all the men who followed Sir Alex Ferguson. The ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ will be expected to transfer his own forward-thinking through to the team, which you suspect would be music to the ears of one all-action French midfielder.

Fortress Old Trafford

The saying went that teams were already beaten before they stepped off the bus at Old Trafford . Yet, in recent seasons, it has been anything but the case. Tottenham ran out 3-0 winners during August, ending their own long wait for an away win over United, while Wolves’ battling draw was swiftly followed by a Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out triumph from Sky Bet Championship club Derby. Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford to help Juventus win 1-0 in the Champions League, while Crystal Palace also left with a hard-earned point. So there is no better place for Solskjaer to start the rebuilding work than at home.

Hit the January sales

While Solskjaer is unlikely to be given a bumper kitty with which to strengthen the squad when the transfer window opens again in January, you would expect the club to signal their intent with at least one addition – and in any position as all could do with an extra bit of help. There could, of course, be some players considering their own future as United again look to change direction with a new permanent boss at the end of the season and whether to stick, twist or even bust.

Press Association

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