Must Ole Stay?

Kaylee Donnelly, Contributing Writer

The pitch of Old Trafford was a sore sight at the end of this weekend. Far from ordinary for the historic football club, Manchester United suffered a staggering 5-0 loss to their longtime rivals Liverpool this past Sunday, Oct. 24. Chants erupted from the stadium, the seats filled with Liverpool fans shouting “Ole must stay!”, in reference to United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær .

There were no similar taunts from the Manchester crowd.

Manchester United was down 4-0 within the first half of the match, with goals from Liverpool players Naby Keita and Diogo Jota and two from Mohamed Salah. Salah then completed a hat trick, putting another in the back of the net shortly into the second half, where the score would remain for the rest of the game.

But this result isn’t just a bad loss. It’s a question of authority.

The question of Solskjær’s job security arose after the result of this match. Devastating losses such as this one typically have managers on the outs, but United seems questionably confident in Solskjær’s ability. Solskjær still believes himself suitable for the job and even affirmed that the team was on the brink of something new — whatever that new thing might be.

Some see this as a result of eroding authority within Manchester United. Alex Ferguson stepped down from club leadership and left the Glazers and Woodward to find a new manager eight years ago. Since then there have been several new managers, along with a few successes like the FA Cup and the Europa League victories. Following December 2018, when Solskjær took over, the club has not produced a single trophy victory.

This downward spiral does not seem new; since the Glazer family’s ownership, they have changed managers approximately four times due to struggling records. The most recent was Jose Mourinho, who was fired after a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in 2018. If Solskjær does end up keeping his position, it’s clear that they are unable to find someone fit for the job. Or maybe the owners are not trying hard enough.

United has also spent large amounts of money bringing in big-name players, giving out around 135 million euros to Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Varane, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite gathering players with evident success, Solskjær has failed to produce.

The loss this past Sunday was not only their largest loss in history to Liverpool. It was also their heaviest defeat at their home stadium of Old Trafford. Neither the Glazers nor Woodward were even in attendance for Sunday’s match.

While some argue that Solskjær has made progress over the years with the United team, it has yet to be fully imagined. One will have to keep an eye out on the status of Manchester’s management and its performance for the rest of the year. The team currently holds seventh place in the Premier League, and while not at the bottom, the club’s supporters will eventually want an answer for a consistent display of mediocrity.

Manchester United plays again this Saturday, Oct. 30, against sixth-place Tottenham, giving the squad a chance to rebound off this attention-grabbing loss and Solskjær the potential to earn back some trust from the fans and solidify his position as manager.

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