Manchester United must not repeat Chelsea mistake regardless of Antonio Conte decision

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The Men Sport understands that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be in charge of the club’s game against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this Saturday.

The manager is still under pressure from the higher-ups after an emergency meeting was called on Monday to discuss the Norwegians fate, but as of now, it seems he has been given the chance to turn things around at United.

However, with his next three games being a trip to London to face Spurs, a return fixture against Atalanta in the Champions League (who United did well to come back and beat 3-2 in the previous fixture), and a game against bitter rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford, you would not be wrong to assume that continuing in the role is more of a stay of execution rather than a chance to get back on track for Solskjaer.

Antonio Conte is reportedly interested in becoming United manager if the role is available, but with rumours of supposed hesitation in appointing the Italian manager, who has proven himself in the Premier League before with Chelsea, gives the impression that the club are unsure whether he is the manager they want to take the club forward and whether he would be a long term option.

If results were not to improve under Solskjaer though and the club felt the need to make a change, would this then open the door for an interim manager to take over until United were in a better position to approach managers in the summer?

It would be a brutal case of irony for Solskjaer, who originally joined United as interim manager in 2018 replacing Jose Mourinho but then was given the job permanently. It would stand to reason this would not be the case with any manager who was chosen this time around.

Appointing from within would be problematic as many of the reported player issues are which the style of coaching and tactics that are already being implemented by the backroom staff and I doubt seeing Mike Phelan on the touchline of the Manchester Derby would inspire much confidence from a United fanbase that has already lost a lot of hope.

But then who do you appoint?

Gus Hiddink would have been a perfect shout here, the reliable ship-stabiliser who got more out of his teams before being replaced by a long term option when the chance became available, but he has unfortunately retired from management.

Other options like Laurent Blanc would have been reasonable, however, I doubt he would leave his safe job with Al Rayyan in order to manage United for a few months.

This leaves United in the very unfortunate position of having already used up their main gambit in this scenario unless anyone really wants to see Steve Bruce at the helm. (I think we all know the answer).

And the last thing that United want is to have a similar situation to what Chelsea had with Rafa Benitez, where constant reliance on interim managers caused them to finally make a mistake, and Benitez caused further disillusionment within the fanbase and the team noticeably went backwards.

I don’t think the players would be an interim coach either, because despite the success it has seen on certain occasions in the past, mainly with Chelsea, it would mainly show to them that this season is being written off to start again in summer.

Now to some players who have time on their side, like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, this may be less problematic. But for Bruno Fernandes, David de Gea, Raphael Varane and especially Cristiano Ronaldo, they will be unhappy in wasting one of their most important years as they come into their peak or in Ronaldo ‘s case closer to the end of his career on a throw-away season.

Overall, an interim only benefits the club if they truly nail the appointment in summer and are able to restart United’s progression straight away, but not only does this put more pressure on the coach from the board, it will put more pressure on him from the players as well.

If United want to try and save this season and also secure silverware, then they need to look to appoint now, even if the pool is small and get the most out of this squad while it’s still at its best.

Would you prefer an interim manager till the summer or a permanent appointment if Solskjaer leaves? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter to get involved in the discussion in the comment section below.

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