Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to be named as Manchester United’s next permanent manager after Wednesday night’s remarkable victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.
The Red Devils advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals, despite losing last month’s first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford.
United’s 3-1 win was all the more unexpected because they lined up in Paris without many of their first-team regulars, including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera.
But Solskjaer has instilled real belief into the United squad since replacing Jose Mourinho in December and recorded the most impressive victory of his managerial career so far thanks to a Romelu Lukaku brace and a controversial late penalty from Marcus Rashford.
This was the result that surely sealed a permanent contract for Solskjaer at Old Trafford. The Norwegian has made an extraordinary impact over the past three months, losing just one of his 17 matches in charge of the Premier League giants.
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Recent results have proved beyond doubt that United made the right decision sacking Mourinho, who’d clearly lost the dressing room.
The Portuguese coach, who has been tipped to return to Real Madrid, must have been sat at home on Wednesday night wondering how on earth Solskjaer has been able to get the same players performing to such a high level.
In fairness to Mourinho, he swallowed his pride and gave Solskjaer credit for the PSG victory while speaking on RT this week. He also praised the managerial performance of Erik ten Hag following Ajax’s stunning 4-1 victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
"I think independent of the performances, Ajax and Manchester United results are phenomenal results, and if the responsibility in the bad days is for the managers, the responsibility of the good days is then also for the managers,” he said.
"So for me, Ten Hag from Ajax and Solskjaer from Manchester United.
“Incredible results, so credit to them.
“Manchester United, I would say the mental side of it - the self-belief - so for me, very special days for these two men.”
Watch the video here…
Although it’s nice of Mourinho to praise Solskjaer, it did feel like a slightly backhanded compliment only praising Ajax’s ‘tactical perspective’ and not United’s.
The way he spoke suggests he believes United got through by belief and belief alone, but without a smart tactical game-plan United would not have been beaten by PSG.
Mourinho also recently stated that, in his opinion, replacing experienced coaches (like himself) for inexperienced coaches (like Solskjaer) rarely benefit clubs in the long run.