It’s almost a year since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer famously took the wheel at Manchester United, though it’s safe to say it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides at times.
A year ago this coming Thursday, Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho on an interim basis until the end of last season, though an instant upturn in results saw the Norwegian handed the keys to Old Trafford on a more permanent role before more familiar disappointments returned at the end of the campaign.
Manchester United began this season in similar, inconsistent style – the club currently sitting in fifth in the Premier League – though they have picked up some notably eye-catching results along the way, beating the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Man City, while being the only team in the division to take a point off of runaway leaders Liverpool.
Speaking ahead of the anniversary of his first year in charge, Solskjaer revealed that he quickly sold Ed Woodward his ‘vision’ for the club, using a flip chart to point out the ‘holes’ in United’s squad, as well as highlighting how he wants his side to look at the start of the 2021/22 campaign.
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) December 14, 2019
“I have always had a vision of how I want this team to look in 18 months when that season starts,” Solskjaer said, as per The Mirror.
“We need some transfer windows before then, but I set that plan out for Ed within a couple of weeks when I came here.
“I’m old school. I am not the iPad or powerpoint-presentation type! For me it’s a flip chart – write it down and put in the names. Yep, yep, no, no, yes. Players, gaps, holes. With what’s happened since, one or two things have changed – but he has known from the start what I think this group needs.
“I’d been watching. I had a clear idea of what a United team should look like. I have been part of a United team and I wanted to go back to our traditions of attacking.
“Quick, attacking football with pace, power, and personalities out there. And that is what we are doing. I can see fruits of what we’re doing. The seeds we’re laying are starting to pop up.
“Obviously we are one or two players down in numbers but it doesn’t have to be all done in this (January) window, it might be the summer window. But we are going to strengthen. We are going to get starters into this team. We need to.”
While Solskjaer acknowledged the need to strengthen his side, he will also preside over a landmark fixture when his side face Everton this afternoon, a game which will be the 4,000th consecutive game that the matchday squad contains a Manchester United academy graduate, a sequence which began 82 years ago back in 1937.
Solskjaer has certainly contributed to that stat, handing 10 graduates their first-team debut in 2019, with around 35 per cent of all minutes this season being played by graduates of the academy.