The world is currently so chaotic and unintelligible that you yearn to see someone like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bring Manchester United back to where Sir Alex Ferguson left them.
He does his shopping at the local food store in Hale Village, refers to Ferguson’s methods he observed and noted in his diaries, and kisses his young players in a way that tells them their struggles are his struggles. .
But fundamental cuteness alone will not support Manchester United, nor restore Old Trafford to what they like to call, without irony, the Theater of Dreams.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had his moments as a manager but it looks like the writing is on the wall
Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage on Wednesday
But Ed Woodward, currently on his fourth manager in six years, is the architect of this chaos
Solskjaer has had his moments as a manager, although they are invariably followed by a scrappy night like the one in Leipzig on Wednesday and this once-great club ends up where it started.
The role played by Paul Pogba in Germany was a paradigm of the illusory pursuit of progress. You rejoiced when this most narcissistic and selfish player was left on the bench, 24 hours after making it known he was aiming for a better club than United. But then, after an hour of football. Solskjaer brought him in anyway.
In Leipzig, as at Southampton and West Ham, the game was only half-time when Solskjaer reversed his strategy, changing formation and introducing Donny van de Beek. United’s performances in the first half are too often dismal. Solskjaer doesn’t always seem to know what he’s doing.
He has more steel than you sometimes think, as Ferguson has always attested. “You usually can’t give a player an advantage if he somehow didn’t gain it as a teenager,” said the Scot.
“But every once in a while there is an example that gives you hope. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comes to mind.
Still, it’s not the kind of metal that has a player living a bit on the edge, in that state of competitive tension that Ferguson has managed to engender.
United have been in decline since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm
Images of United players arriving for their day at the spa following the humiliation at Burnley’s hands last season told us how lost this great institution has become.
The summer signings of Van de Beek, who barely played, and Edinson Cavani, 33 on his final payday, confirmed everything we know about the lack of a plan.
This is by no means Solskjaer’s fault. Ed Woodward, currently on his fourth manager in six years after burning up to £ 750million, is the architect of this chaos.
But the idea of Solskjaer doing something to narrow the yawning gap between this club and Liverpool seems more far-fetched by the day.
Solskjaer, who took over from Jose Mourinho, doesn’t always seem to know what he’s doing
An alternative is, of course, available. It was he who, as Tottenham Hotspur manager, spoke to Ferguson at Scott’s establishment in Mayfair four years ago to taste a £ 114 bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. “The best coach in the Premier League,” that was how Ferguson described Mauricio Pochettino at the time.
His arrival would not be the panacea for success. Pochettino left Tottenham abruptly due to President Daniel Levy’s refusal to invest as he saw fit.
He would make demands on Woodward, insist on a substantial degree of control over the transfer market, expect to get what he wants.
But few United members will deny their hearts skipped a bit when he appeared, looking relaxed and healthy, on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football last month.
“My energy is full,” said Pochettino. “We always try to create a style of football and identity, so that the fans can feel proud. ”
He, not Solskjaer, seems more capable of delivering United from the fog of the post-Ferguson era.
Mauricio Pochettino seems more capable of delivering United from the fog of the post-Ferguson era