Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘not a top manager’ as Man Utd board slammed over sack stance
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision-making in the build-up to the club crashing out of the Champions League proves he’s not a top-tier manager, claims Paul Merson. United were dumped out of the competition for the second year running this past week.
United will play in the Europa League for the second year in a row after crashing out of the Champions League.
The Red Devils finished third in their group behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig after disappointing defeats against both in consecutive weeks.
First they were beaten by PSG in France after midfielder Fred was sent off for two bookable offences, with Marquinhos adding to a Neymar double in a 3-1 win for the Parisiens.
The week after they went to Germany with the task of avoiding defeat in order to progress to the knockout stages.
But they were 1-0 down inside three minutes, with Leipzig doubling their advantage just ten minutes later.
Solskjaer made some changes throughout the game, but they were too little too late as United went 3-0 down with just 20 minutes to go.
Despite a late attempt at a comeback, the game finished 3-2 and United dropped into the Europa League for the second year in a row.
The result did little to ease the pressure on Solskjaer’s head at the moment, though it is understood that club officials are fully in support of the legendary forward.
But Merson believes Solskjaer’s inability to change his setup in time to rescue the game against Leipzig proves he’s not a top-tier manager.
He explained in his column for The Daily Star that the Norwegian also should have known to take off Fred against PSG after he received his first yellow card for headbutting Leonardo Paredes.
Merson wrote: “You know what PSG are like. You can’t leave Fred on the pitch when he’s on a booking. But he did, Fred got sent off, and they lose.
“Then he gets it horribly, horribly wrong against Leipzig. He plays three at the back and they’re 2-0 down inside 15 minutes.
“A top manager would have changed it straight away. But he didn’t. He waited until half time.
“He wasted all that time. And even though they did come back into it, it was too late. He’s not decisive enough. He doesn’t make the big decisions.
“Why did Pogba even travel? I don’t believe for a second that any of his team-mates were affected by what his agent said.
“But a top manager wouldn’t have let that become a distraction. A top manager would have left him at home. Solskjaer is not a top manager. Is he one of the 20 best managers in the world? No.
“United are the biggest club in the world. But I don’t know if their board still believe that. They don’t act like it.
“It’s like United are happy just to tick along. They’ve had umpteen chances to change the manager and they haven’t bothered.
“That suggests they’re happy with Solskjaer. That they want him to carry on. If they wanted Mauricio Pochettino in charge they would have done it already.
“I guarantee you that if Real Madrid had gone out of the group stage, Zinedine Zidane would be out of a job, and Pochettino would have been in there by the weekend.”
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