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Solskjaer in charge because he...
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Solskjaer in charge because he accepts board's decisions | Damien Delaney

Ruairi Carberry
Ruairi Carberry

10:31 1 Oct 2020

Manchester United grabbed their second clean sheet of the season with a 3-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday evening, however, Damien Delaney doubts that the club can climb back to the summit of English football with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel.

Solskjaer's relaxed demeanour on the sideline and in front of the media has been hailed as a positive by some but Delaney believes that players need to be somewhat fearful of their manager in order for them to perform at their best levels week in, week out.

"They have a lot of problems at the moment and I think one of them is the manager. I've been saying this for a long, long time. He's been getting away with all sorts," Delaney said on Thursday's OTB AM.

"Manchester United still don't have a clear identity as a team. I watch Manchester United play and it just looks like a collection of players told to go out on the pitch and enjoy themselves. That's how they defend and that's how they attack. It is all off the cuff."

Premier League Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) celebrates victory with Bruno Fernandes (left) on the pitch after the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.

"I've been saying this since day dot, he does not have the charisma or personality to manage a club like Manchester United when it is in the situation that it is in."

For almost two decades Liverpool were judged on the lack of success that they had while United, 30 miles away, were enjoying an unprecedented era of domination in England.

The roles have been reversed since Jurgen Klopp's arrival at Anfield.

Delaney feels United are in a similar position to where Liverpool found themselves in the '90s and have some ways to go before they will challenge once more.

otb brief Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during a training session at Melwood Training Ground, Liverpool.

"Manchester United for me are probably were Liverpool were in 1994. They are just coming off the back of an awful lot of success and they're sliding into mediocrity for me right now. There is something fundamentally wrong at Manchester United Football Club."

"I think that for Manchester United to arrest this slide it's going to take a manager of huge personality. I know they had Jose Mourinho and he couldn't do it but it's going to take a Klopp-type character to come in and take control of that football club."

The ownership structure at the club, headed by the Glazer family and fronted by chief executive Ed Woodward, has been heavily criticised over the past number of years. They have loaded United with debt and have been accused recently of not viewing titles as a medium of success, running the club in a way that ensures maximum profit.

Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward prior to kick-off during the Carabao Cup Semi Final, second leg match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

The critique of the board has insulated Solskjaer from any negative feedback, according to Delaney.

"There is an awful lot of chefs at Manchester United, an awful lot of people stirring the pot, all wanting to be the man that's running [the club], wanting to be part of the biggest club in the world, and they want to be the ones to turn it around but I think it's lacking any clear direction unless the owners are happy with the direction it is going in," the Corkman said.

"It's unbelievable the more I see this go on, they're all tiptoeing around Solskjaer," Delaney continued, highlighting the leniency Solskjaer has been granted by former teammates.

"People say that being a nice guy gets you nowhere, it's gotten Ole a year at Manchester United because he seems to be a really nice guy."

"Gary Neville is quite correct in what he is saying [about the board] but first and foremost a manager has got to take control of the football side of things and you have got to have a manager that is strong enough to take control of the board as well."

"If you look over at Liverpool I think Jurgen Klopp is in almost complete control of that football club. I don't believe that the board, the owners or the director of football or whoever is there do anything without picking up the phone and asking Klopp first."

Whether United can prise Jadon Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund, or shore up a back four that has looked anything but convincing since the campaign started is another question, however, it certainly seems the trajectory for the club is not going to shoot upward in rapid fashion any time soon.

That in itself is a big concern for the Old Trafford faithful.

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Read more about

Anfield Damien Delaney Gary Neville Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Manchester United Old Trafford Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Premier League

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