Monday 14 October 2019

'Solskjaer will do well to see out the season' - Ireland legend not expecting upturn in Manchester United's fortunes

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a summer rebuild (Martin Rickett/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a summer rebuild (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be one of the favourites to be the first to be sacked in the Premier League next season, with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino better qualified to revive the fortunes of the Old Trafford club.

That's the verdict of former Ireland and Liverpool striker John Aldridge, who believes Solskjaer faces a mighty task to get United back on track after a disastrous end to last season.

Solskjaer was handed the United job in March after a successful stint as caretaker manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho last December, but he struggled badly in the final weeks of the campaign and faces a huge task to overhaul his squad this summer.

"Solskjaer appears to be a nice guy, but there is no evidence that he is good enough to lift Manchester United out of their current slump and I believe he will be one of the favourites to be the first managerial casualty of the new season," declares Aldridge.

"United appear to be targeting young players in the transfer market and while that is a change of direction that might reap long-term reward, patience will need to be shown by the owners and the fans before they see the benefits of blooding youngsters.

"Will United be content to wait the or three years before these kids they are signing develop into top players? I can't see that happening and this is why I don't see their current manager lasting too long in the job.

"Solskjaer will do well to see out next season as United manager and I would expect them to try and get Pochettino out of Tottenham sooner rather than later, which is what they should have done when they sacked Mourinho last December."

Aldridge is expecting a familiar story to develop at the top of the Premier League in the next season, as he predicts last term's top two will continue to dominate the agenda.

"The transfer window has yet to catch fire for the Premier League's top six teams, but I don't believe they can make the kind of signings that will change the dynamic at the top of the table in the new season," he added.

"Manchester City and their nearest challengers Liverpool have opened up a huge gap on their big rivals in the last 12 months that should have realistic ambitions to challenge for the title and I can't see any way that they will overhaul that in one transfer window.

"Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all need to make big changes to get anywhere near the top two and when I assess what they need to do this summer, I don't believe they will be title contenders any time soon.

"So it will be a battle between City and Liverpool for the title again next season and I believe it will be very tough for Jurgen Klopp's side to match their achievement of last season and collect 97 points. When you consider that wasn't even enough to win the title, it shows the scale of the task they have on their hands."

Read John Aldridge in the Sunday World every weekend.

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