Ole’s First Year at the Wheel

James Cooper, writing for Sky Sports:

It’s hard to imagine Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ever going through a year like he’s just had at any other stage of his career.

He often talks about “bumps in the road”, but some of those bumps have been huge while at the other end of the scale there have been moments of joy and heady emotion that only a select band of managers ever experienced.

Agreed. In his conclusion, Cooper writes:

It’s still unclear just who Manchester United are as a side under Solskjaer and what their true identity is.

Opposition managers talk about them as a counter-attacking team but their best performance under Solskjaer, in the Manchester Derby, just saw them hit City with everything they had.

Here I disagree. United’s identity under Solskjaer is very similar to what it was under Sir Alex Ferguson but with a very Ole twist.

Given the opportunity, United will hit teams on the counter. This was true of all great Sir Alex teams at United. When teams sit back, United will press forward and try to create openings with waves of attacks. This too was true of the great United teams under Sir Alex. The difference between then and now is, while promising, this team lacks enough quality in key positions to break down teams doggedly determined to sit back and defend.

To me, the issue is less one of identity than quality. And given greater quality, particularly in midfield, United’s identity under Solskjaer will be clearer for all to see.

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