Chris Smalling thinks keeping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the dug out at Old Trafford is a “no brainer” given Manchester United’s upturn in form.
United’s defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League is the club’s first loss since the Norwegian coach took over from Jose Mourinho in December.
Has Solskjaer already earned a permanent role as United manager? Four things to know…
- Solskjaer took over from Mourinho on 18 December, 2018.
- The former United striker has helped re-introduce an attacking brand of football at Old Trafford.
- Since taking over, Solskjaer is undefeated in the Premier League having won eight out of nine league games.
- The Norwegian has convinced many United fans that he should stay in the summer, while opinion remains divided among pundits.
United have reverted to type under Solskjaer, dropping a cautious approach – which became the hallmark of Mourinho’s tenure – in favour of a more attacking style of play.
The change in style has liberated players like Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera who were struggling for form and a regular place in Mourinho’s plans.
In an interview with the Times, Smalling claimed this transformation should be enough to keep the Baby Faced Assassin in the hot seat on a more permanent basis.
“Considering how we are playing since Ole’s been in, it would be a no-brainer if he was given the job [long-term].
“We’d definitely be happy. But we just need to play our games.
“Ole said one of the main reasons he was able to come back was because of his connection to the club.”
Smalling added: “He’s seen it through everything. I definitely see what we had with Sir Alex [Ferguson] through Ole.
“He came in with, really, the one target of bringing belief back into players. We were going through a tough patch [under Mourinho]. Confidence had dipped.
“He wanted to put an arm round some players, and just go, ‘You’re good players, there’s a reason Manchester United bought you, I’m backing you, go and flourish’.”
United return to Premier League action on 24 February against fierce rivals Liverpool. Before that they face Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday evening.
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Different story for Sanchez
Not every United player is gushing with praise for United’s caretaker boss and Alexis Sanchez has revealed that he hasn’t been given any specific direction since Solskjaer took charge.
“He [Solskjaer] hasn’t spoken to me a great deal about what I have to do on the pitch, but I think I’m an experienced player and I think I know what I need to do and what I shouldn’t do,” the United forward told the BBC.
“I’m a player that, if I’m not in contact with the ball, I lose that spark, and sometimes I want to play in every game. You’re in, you’re out, and I’m used to playing.”
With both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard sidelined for the foreseeable future, Sanchez is expected to start against Chelsea on Monday.