As the dust settles on Manchester United’s failure to capture the Europa League title against a more resolute and determined Villarreal team, the question has again been raised about where this once mighty club are heading?
The ex-Manchester United striker, who had quite a good career for the Red Devils himself and was known for his famous goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, is turning the fortunes of the English giants.
Subsequent to the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, United have seen three managers exited the club: David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the helm at Manchester United in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho was laid off following poor results from the team and fall-out with first-team players.
Jose Mourinho spent two and a half seasons with the club, winning the FA Community Shield, Europa League and the Carabao Cup in his first year in charge and finishing second the ensuing season, which he described as the best year in his career.
Despite Jose Mourinho’s achievements with the Red Devils, fans seemed displeased with his tactics and pattern of coaching, accusing him of playing boring and defensive football, which is not part of the culture held by the team, known for their fast and explosive counter-attacking style.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in as an interim boss and got things running, with a 5-1 demolition of Cardiff City in the league. He had to wait for about two months before he conceded his first defeat as United boss.
United still sorted out options for the managerial role with the club linked with then-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. Following a dramatic comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League after losing 2-1 at home, United turned the tie in the second leg, winning 2-0 at the Parc des Princes and advancing to the next round. The victory gave him the job on permanent basis.
Things where still rocky for the United boss, with mixed results and poor displays from his team. United’s defence was horrible and disappointing, shipping in goals and on their travels failed to keep a clean sheet in 14 games in a row. The midfield area was lifeless, and the speculation and off-field antics surrounding Paul Pogba at the time also made things difficult.
Coming forward to the 2019-20 campaign, the manager brought in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, plus Harry Maguire, a world-record transfer fee for a defender to bolster his defence. He also signed Daniel James from Championship side Swansea.
After critical analysis of his team he allowed Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling (loan), Ander Herrera, Alexis Sanchez (loan) and Romelu Lukaku to leave the team.
United improved but still lacked creativity, drive and fire power in some games. United racked up just 28 points in the first half of the season, finding the back of the net 28 times and letting in 22 goals.
The manager sorted out some January signings, bringing in Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes for around £50 million ($90 million) and Nigeria international Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua.
Manchester United’s performances lately have been phenomenal, extraordinary and peachy. United haven’t lost a game since February 1 after losing 2-1 to Burnley in the League on January 22.
After the restart of the season, United have scored three-plus goals in three of their last four league games, only failing to reach such feat against a Jose Mourinho team. United are currently in contention for a top-four finish, only three points behind Leicester and two points behind Chelsea, who sit in third and fourth respectively.
The team still hold a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they clash with Chelsea for a place in the final after their victory over Norwich at Carrow Road in the quarter-final. After a convincing first-leg 5-0 trashing of LASK in the Europa League round of 16 away from home, only a miracle against them will see them bow out of the competition.
With this team in hand and Ole on the wheels at Manchester United, coupled with few more signings, that will see them contest with the big guns and probably win the League soon.