Darren Fletcher is right about Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of transfer deadline day

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Zoom call performance did not go down well with many Man United fans and he needs to start being more selfish. &q...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Zoom call performance did not go down well with many Man United fans and he needs to start being more selfish.

"If something happens, in or out, you'll get to know," Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declared. "We’'ll tell you when and if something happens," he informed another reporter.

Solskjaer was on script whenever the transfer window or Monday's deadline was mentioned during his Zoom call on Friday morning. The trouble is Solskjaer said in April United could 'exploit' a pandemic transfer market and in August admitted the squad depth required strengthening, yet United's sole signing remains Donny van de Beek.

Solskjaer regretted the crass use of the word 'exploit' and some suspected that at the time. Solskjaer lived in England for 14-and-a-half years before he returned in 2018 but it is not his mother tongue and he has confessed he prefers media sit downs without the presence of cameras. There is always an ellipsis in a Solskjaer transcript and at times he is on the brink of uttering what he is thinking until the media training kicks in.

But in addressing the squad depth, Solskjaer hit the wrong notes: "I think it's a different scenario now already after two games. I've seen many of the other players who didn't play too much last season play really well."

Robotic Tory MPs are using 'gotcha' questions against their interrogators in the absence of cogent answers yet Solskjaer fell into the trap. Whether he believes what he is saying is beside the point. On the record, he backtracked on his squad depth remark in Cologne on August 20 and has to be taken at face value.

And what is the evidence? Two Carabao Cup ties against a heavily rotated Championship club and a much-changed Premier League side. The strength in depth amounts to Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly and Van de Beek, going off those games, and Bailly is auditioning to supplant the vulnerable Victor Lindelof.

It is a minor miracle the outrage at Solskjaer's answer did not oust Donald Trump from top of the worldwide Twitter trends. United, trophyless in over three years, third-placed finishers last season and 11 wins worse off than the runaway Premier League champions, have made one signing over the last 10 weeks.

They had already come full circle in the transfer window with the infighting over a centre-back in 2018 and this year's edition is a mash-up of their worst windows. The priority position has not been filled and, like in 2013, they are preparing their trolley for a Supermarket Sweep dash before time runs out.

Jose Mourinho rocked the boat until it capsized whereas Solskjaer is proceeding with the stoicism of Captain Edward Smith. "Ole's at the wheel," United fans used to sing. United are in danger of careering into an iceberg.

It is not Solskjaer's style to be confrontational, especially in press conferences. The only time he cut loose was when he angrily reprimanded Robin van Persie for questioning why he was smiling through his post-match assessment of the New Year's Day defeat at Arsenal.

Mourinho raged against the dying of the light. "If we don’t make our team better it will be a difficult season for us," he said on the eve of the 2018-19 campaign. He was quickly vindicated and the support for him was more ardent than it has been for Solskjaer.

The singing section turned mutinous with a rendition of 'Jose's right, the board is s---e' with United 2-0 down to Newcastle and following their comeback win at Juventus the bar opposite the media's hotel rocked to 'Jose's at the wheel'. Mourinho went out all guns blazing. "If they send me away, do you have any idea how much money they would have to give me?" he told an Italian reporter at Burnley.

Woodward undermined Mourinho
Woodward undermined Mourinho

Solskjaer is in danger of losing respect among those who worshipped him as a player with his indecision and company man act. It is also why United appointed him; there is no conflict and club suits were pleased by how harmonious the atmosphere was in the wake of last October's defeat to Newcastle, which left United 14th.

Ed Woodward visited United's Carrington training complex and was encouraged by the mood around the place. Juan Mata found the last months of Mourinho's reign to be the most 'challenging and tiring' of his career amid the constant scrutiny on the manager and senior United sources said the players felt like they were walking on eggshells.

Solskjaer has maintained a 'calm, positive and happy environment' and figures at the club feel he is 'in sync' with their vision. Yet the vision for the modern Man United still seems to be cash over cups and, for all his diplomacy, that is anathema to Solskjaer.

"He's always got the best interests of the club at heart, I know that, but sometimes Ole has to look after himself as well," Darren Fletcher advised. "Because he's going to be judged season on season."

United are standing still again and the last time they were that complacent the manager was gone before Christmas.



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GistLobby⚽: Darren Fletcher is right about Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of transfer deadline day
Darren Fletcher is right about Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of transfer deadline day
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