Manchester United enjoyed a great start to life under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But after the drama in Paris, it was pretty much all downhill, with us going from looking like we could finish third to us finish sixth. Ahead of the new season starting, the country’s best journalists have contributed to the RoM charity season preview to discuss several things, including who is at fault for our current predicament. To read their thoughts in full on the transfer window, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment and who our most important players will be this season, buy the preview and help contribute to a great cause.
Daniel Taylor, Chief football writer for The Guardian/Observer:
Well, I’d be a hypocrite if I said, in hindsight, that it was a mistake because after beating Paris St Germain in the Champions League (probably the best old-school United moment since Fergie left) I wrote at the time that they pretty much had to give it to him. Maybe that was wrong. But in fairness, I feel like that slump towards the end of the season was a bit deceptive. Those players were not fit enough under Mourinho and when they started playing a more pressing game under Solskjaer it worked, to a point. Eventually it caught up with them with injuries and general fatigue and we all saw how the season panned out. In short, we will have a much better answer to the question come November/December.
Henry Winter, Chief football writer for The Times:
Yes. The club needed to wake up and remember what United are about. The club had tried a good British manager in Moyes who froze, then two celebrated foreign managers who didn’t understand the club properly so why not take a gamble?
Solskjaer is learning but he loves the club, is very intelligent, can see where the problems lie and is addressing them and will give everything to succeed. Give him time – the squad needs so much work.
James Ducker, Northern Football Correspondent for The Daily and Sunday Telegraph.
In my opinion, no, but he has got the job and he deserves some time and support and no one can doubt he has the club’s best interests at heart and will give it everything he has got.
My argument would be this – if you have set your sights on Mauricio Pochettino for a long time, why abandon that on the back of a good few months from a caretaker who was not considered a genuine option to take over permanently when he was drafted in last December, regardless of what anyone says? I doubt any other big club in Europe would have done what United did and, had they waited another month or so and seen how results and performances imploded, would they still have made the same decision?
James Robson, Manchester football correspondent for The Evening Standard:
It’s too soon to say – but there have to be question marks over the decision to appoint him when they did.
United were under no pressure to do so – and could have given themselves more time to fully evaluate their options
Most encouraging is the direction he seems to want to take them – and with a squad more in-keeping with his vision, perhaps he can be the man to finally put them on the right track. But, as I said, it is far too soon to tell either way.