Sunday 21 July 2019

Jamie Carragher rejects snipes over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's impact at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (John Walton/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (John Walton/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jamie Carragher has rejected claims that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had an easy run at the start of his reign as Manchester United's interim manager, as he suggested their revival is worthy of acclaim.

Solskjaer has won his first six games at United since he succeeded Jose Mourinho as the club's manager, with Sunday's 1-0 win against Tottenham at Wembley his most impressive victory yet.

United are now edging closer to the top four in the Premier League, yet former United midfielder Paul Ince has suggested the Solskjaer effect has been over-hyped after a run of favourable fixtures ahead of the clash against Spurs.

"We can’t get too sucked in with what Ole's done," stated Paddy Power ambassador Ince. "Let's be honest, it couldn't get any worse at Manchester United before Jose Mourinho left. There was a dark cloud over the entire club, the players, the fans and the staff. It was impacting performances on the pitch.

"Ole's come in, a friendly face at the club with a calming influence and it seems as though the players have upped their effort as a result. The shackles are off, but that doesn’t mean that Ole is the right man for the job. I could have gone in and done the same thing, so could Steve Bruce.

"Anyone could have gone in and done what he has done, it wasn't a hard thing to do to give those players freedom and improve the mood. Mauricio Pochettino should still be their target next summer."

Sky Sports pundit Carragher disagrees with that view, as he believes Solskjaer should be given plaudits for his first half a dozen games at United.

"A lot has been written about Solskjaer and everything being very, very positive on the surface," said the former Liverpool defender. "I think underneath that, a lot of people were looking at it before the Spurs game and thought 'anyone could have gone in there and done that'. It's nonsense. It's absolute nonsense.

"For three or four years, watching Mourinho's sides, in the big games, Manchester United were terrified going into them thinking they couldn't compete with these other top teams. That has changed.

"They were terrified of what the opposition would do. Wingers were tracking the runs of opposing full-backs - how often did we say Manchester United were in a back six?

"This went on for years, I spoke to Gary Neville about it during Mourinho's first season and he was convinced it would change when Mourinho got better players, but it didn't.

"The brilliant thing I loved from Manchester United at Wembley was that their fear had gone. Solskjaer should get some credit and he has made a great start to his tie as United manager."

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