The Man Utd boss has made an impressive return to Premier League action as he chases a Champions League spot
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has silenced many of his critics in recent weeks. Those who doubted the Norwegian would be able to turn Manchester United around and put his own stamp on the Old Trafford outfit have been left discredited by the Reds’ recent run of form, going 17 games unbeaten.
It’s not just United’s recent results that are encouraging, but the manner in which they have achieved those results. While Jose Mourinho’s side were desperately anaemic towards the end of his tenure at the club, Solskjaer’s team know how to put on a show, smashing 14 goals past Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United in their last four Premier League outings.
That made Solskjaer the first manager in Premier League history to lead their team to four consecutive wins by a three-goal margin or more. This is a sign of how far United have come over the last few months, with the Old Trafford side exhilarating and devastating in equal measure.
But those who questioned Solskjaer should be given some slack. In an age of football where philosophy and ideology counts for more than ever before, the Norwegian’s lack of a defining style led many to suggest he would never succeed at the elite level as a coach. Solskjaer isn’t alone in having faced such criticisms, though.
Zinedine Zidane has experienced much of what the United manager has. Like Solskjaer, the Real Madrid boss is not tied to any one style of play and in Spain, where footballing philosophers like Pep Guardiola, Quique Setien and Paco Jemez are idolised for how they see the game, that was held against him for a long time.
As a pragmatist, though, Zidane has repeatedly been able to get the best out of the squad at the Santiago Bernabeu. He is a legacy figure who commands respect because of what he has achieved at the club, something that has only been bolstered further since the former midfielder entered management, winning three successive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018.
Of course, to predict Solskjaer will enjoy the same level of success at United might be taking things a little too far at this point, even if they are heading in the right direction, but there are similarities to the way the Norwegian has turned things around at Old Trafford and how Zidane leads at Real Madrid. Continue reading