Underrated, out of its depth or somewhere in between? As Solskjaer at Manchester United – The Athletic


Perhaps the best place to start is the January evening of this year when Manchester United, then unbeaten in 13 league appearances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, faced Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer’s side had the opportunity to overtake Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table on Wednesday evening. Instead, they choked on themselves, losing 2-1 at home to the bottom of the division.

The loss marked the start of an eight-game series where United lost 13 of the 24 available points. In the span of five weeks, City scored 14 points clear in a title race they would eventually win, with United finishing second, eight points behind.

On the night of the relegation-linked Sheffield United victory, some senior players in the home team were taken aback by Solskjaer’s response. Or, perhaps more precisely, his lack of response. They walked into the locker room after the game expecting a hairdryer, but full time Solskjaer offered only a gentle breeze.

A fair interpretation may be to reflect that Solskjaer’s team have performed well over the winter months and this blow does not need to turn into a crisis. He had been furious at halftime too. Still, the Athletic has been told the players believe a tremor is necessary. “They must be afraid of having a bite,” said a source close to the team.

More broadly, it was the kind of night where United fans wondered if Solskjaer,

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