CHRIS SUTTON: Manchester United need to take a leaf out of Norwich’s book


CHRIS SUTTON: Manchester United need to take a leaf out of Norwich’s book – their dilly-dallying over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already proven costly with Antonio Conte taking over at Tottenham

  • Norwich sacked Daniel Farke on Saturday despite beating Brentford 2-1
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains as Manchester United boss despite another loss
  • Man City ran out commanding 2-0 winners against United at Old Trafford 


Norwich didn’t wait. They won on Saturday but sacked Daniel Farke anyway because they decided there was no time to waste.

At Manchester United, however, they continue to twiddle thumbs. That dilly-dallying has proved costly for a club with ambitions of being Premier League champions.

Because now, even if they do issue that statement thanking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his efforts and saying he’s always welcome at Old Trafford with all the usual cliches, they won’t get Antonio Conte. He’s Tottenham’s property now.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under increasing pressure after Manchester United lost to Man City

Norwich sacked Daniel Farke

Norwich sacked Daniel Farke

With Zinedine Zidane said to not be interested in managing in England, United would likely have to look to Brendan Rodgers or Mauricio Pochettino, whose clubs wouldn’t let them leave without a fight. They would be tactical upgrades on Solskjaer, at least.

Manchester City fans, in their corner of the stadium on Saturday, loved taking the mickey. ‘Ole, give us a wave,’ was one of their chants. ‘Ole’s at the wheel,’ another.

Rival supporters love the fact that United are sticking with Solskjaer. Had Conte been in charge, he would have been feared, not jeered.

The biggest clubs plan ahead. City announced in February 2016 that Pep Guardiola would be their next boss, from the start of the next season. They had a plan.

United, by contrast, are continuing to wander aimlessly down a path which will not lead to them being Premier League champions.

The problem is Ed Woodward, their executive vice-chairman and chief decision-maker, is on his way out of the club. He doesn’t seem interested in spending the final stage of his tenure giving Solskjaer the bus fare home from Carrington and staging interviews with potential candidates. 

A different executive would have acted sooner. A new one might, once he takes over from Woodward.

United were defeated 2-0 by fierce rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday

United were defeated 2-0 by fierce rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday

Solskjaer claimed ahead of the derby that United are the biggest team in Manchester, and the world. Considering what’s been happening on the pitch, it’s a laughable claim.

We had callers to BBC Radio’s 606 on Saturday evening describing Solskjaer as ‘clueless’, but they were laying the ultimate blame at the board for dithering.

Over the last few weeks, the gap between United and those at the top of the Premier League has been laid bare. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool blew them away. Then Guardiola’s City did the same. They were in total control. There’s an enormous gulf in class between Solskjaer’s United and their rivals, from top to bottom.

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