Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in interim charge of Man Utd was a 5-1 thumping of Cardiff City.
From December 2018 to his permanent appointment in late March 2019 the Norweigen oversaw 19 matches in all competitions, which included 14 wins. That’s a pretty impressive win rate of 73.68%.
Compare that to Solskjaer’s record since his status was elevated to full-time manager: just 18 wins from 46 league and cup matches, which equates to a win rate of 39.13%. A 34% decrease.
If you isolate the Premier League games since his permanent appointment the statistics are damning.
United have now lost more games (12) than they’ve won (11), a win rate of just 34.37%. During this run they’ve only won back-to-back games on two occasions.
In the same period, Jurgen Klopp has won 96.55% of his 29 league games at Liverpool. That’s 28 wins and one draw. Liverpool have dropped just two points during that stunning streak, compared to the 54 points lost under Solskjaer.
Meanwhile, Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho accumulated 17 wins and suffered just the three defeats from his first 32 league games at Man Utd, with his troops recording 14 clean sheets, compared to just four under Solskjaer.
“The players are giving everything, they have done absolutely fantastic so far this season but they know it wasn't good enough tonight,” Solskjaer somewhat bizarrely said in the aftermath of United’s spineless 2-0 defeat at home to Burnley (BBC Sport), the club’s third loss to nil in four league games.
In fact, it was the first time since 1962 that United had lost a top-flight game at Old Trafford to the Clarets - 11 years before Solskjaer was even born.
It’s difficult to place the blame purely on Solskjaer’s shoulders. His players have let him down on multiple occasions, however a skilled man-manager gets every ounce of talent, ability and passion out of his players, which is clearly not the case at Man Utd at this moment in time.
Most fingers are pointed towards the Glazers and Ed Woodward. “The recruitment has just been a downwards spiral over the course of six or seven years,” Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport on Wednesday.
“I don’t think that was taken into consideration properly and even now, you look at the team and £600million has been spent on this squad.”
Solskjaer has once again emerged as the favourite in the Premier League Sack Race, yet it would come as a shock if United pulled the plug this season. However, he’s likely to be in for a nerve-shredding summer, should he fail to inspire a dramatic turnaround.
Mauricio Pochettino remains the frontrunner in the next Man Utd manager market, ahead of Max Allegri, Brendan Rodgers and Ralf Rangnik, while Diego Simeone is a 50/1 shot.
But while there’s a widespread feeling that this is United’s lowest-ebb, the topsy-turvy nature of the season means that Frank Lampard’s inconsistent Chelsea, in 4th, aren’t exactly far out of reach (six points), although the immediate concern will be fending off the raft of teams in hot pursuit, with just four points separating United (5th) from Newcastle in 14th.
There’s also all to play for in the FA Cup with Man Utd in action on Sunday against either Tranmere of Watford.
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