Sunday would sure be a red-lettered day in the calendars of many in the world. It won’t just be any other day that will be full of Premier League action. It will be a day that will see two juggernauts of football collide at Old Trafford- Manchester United and Liverpool.
As much as the fixture means to everyone associated with both clubs, it means a lot to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And while a win will go onto say a lot about the Norwegian’s managerial abilities, it shouldn’t decide whether he should get the job of United’s boss on a permanent basis.
Agreed, Solskjaer has proved that he isn’t a mere flash in the pan. United have beaten Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea, climbing back into the top four. And they’ve lost only one out of the last 13 games under Solskjaer.
But winning or losing says nothing about a manager in the long-term, especially if he’s come in two months ago. The game that football is, things can change in a flash. Although the way United reacted to defeat in the win over Chelsea showed a lot about their resiliency and the ability to bounce back from failure, the thing with interim managers is how they fade after their permanent appointment.
They fix a lot of things in the short-term, but things start to go wrong when they get appointed permanently. The examples are many. The players feel that they have someone new to impress and give their all to do so. That bounce fades off once the interim boss becomes permanent because the players psychologically take it for granted.
It isn’t to say that Solskjaer is a bad manager. But no decision should be made till the end of the season and by considering how the whole period panned out instead of how much he won the club over in the first two months.
Beating Liverpool will add another mini-trophy to his collection and he will surely pass in another one of the exams that was put in front of him for an audition. It will prove that he can help United beat better sides, if the wins over the three big London clubs hasn’t proved that. It will also prove that he can rile the players on in a massive North-West derby game at home.
Things were going so well for Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea in the first 15 games, but it all fell to shreds after that. While the context of comparing Sarri to Solskjaer is different, but the fact of the matter is that no concrete decision should be made before the season ends.
If United somehow win, people will call for his permanent appointment. They will tell how great he is. No doubt he’s been great, but he’s been great so far. If United lose, there will be doubts again. Just like they were after the loss to Paris Saint-Germain. Perhaps, that’s the life of an average football fan. They’re too quick to be appeased and they’re too quick to abuse.