Would Max Allegri be a better fit at Manchester United than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 29 August 2019, 11:47

Since Manchester United lost 4-0 to Everton last April, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen just one league win, a victory of the same scoreline versus Chelsea on the opening day of the 2019/20 campaign.

In their last eight matches, which have spanned over two seasons, United have managed to earn just six points, leading to questions over just how long the boss can survive.

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Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace may have been unlucky in the way that it came about, and mistakes higher up have certainly not helped the Norwegian, but football is ultimately a results-based business and another poor result this Saturday away to Southampton could certainly increase the already mounting pressure on his shoulders.

“We defended poorly two or three times today and it cost us two goals,” Solskjaer told the BBC after the match with Palace before going on to address the problems in attack.

“Sometimes it happens in football, you don’t really find that little last end product and certainly we didn’t do that today. We had chances enough, we had pressure enough, but we never tested their ‘keeper enough.”

Penalty misses aside, with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James all on two strikes each for the season, it seems that the boss needs to work on getting the midfield players to take the pressure away from the forward line by contributing with their share of the goals.

With so much pressure on Solskjaer, it’s inevitable that the media are already discussing potential replacements, and there just happens to be a top-level boss readily available.

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Max Allegri left Juventus in the summer after winning five league titles, four Coppa Italia trophies and reaching two Champions League finals in his five seasons in charge.

The odds of the Italian arriving at Old Trafford have been slashed to 11/2, but with well-documented problems behind the scenes, could he really do any better?

Experience would tend to point towards him stepping into the job with relative ease, after he replaced Antonio Conte at Juve after the latter man had walked out of the club just days after the start of pre-season training before the 2014/15 season had begun. Conte had won three consecutive league titles, and the appointment of former AC Milan boss Allegri was initially met with resistance from supporters.

Experienced defenders Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci were well used to lining up in Conte’s back three however – even in the face of resistance – Allegri stuck to his guns and slowly but surely converted to a back four that would provide the backbone of success.

Indeed, the Coach went on to win the league in his first season in charge, matching what Conte had done domestically but also going further in the Champions League than his predecessor had managed. That year, the Bianconeri reached the final of the prestigious competition, eventually losing 3-1 to Barcelona thanks to a masterclass from Lionel Messi.

To do so again with United would surely prove to be a much more difficult prospect, but here is the proof that Allegri can successfully bring about changes to a well-established side.

The Italian is experienced, tactically astute and ready for a new challenge in England, and surely the best option should Solskjaer ultimately prove a little too underqualified for such a huge task.

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