Paul Scholes: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Must 'Show Progression' at Manchester United

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: A dejected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / manager of Manchester United walks off at full time during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 1, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must demonstrate his team are progressing if he's to make his time in the dugout a success. United are ninth in the Premier League after 14 matches this season.

Per Sky Sports, Scholes said of the results under his former team-mate:

"There won't be an acceptance from the fans, Ole, his staff or people at the club. They know it's not good enough.

"If Ole's going to build he needs to get results along the way. You can't be dropping points every game and finishing 10th in the league. He needs to show progression in his team."

Scholes also pointed to the progress Liverpool have made under Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds finished eighth in the 2015-16 season—during which he had joined that October—before consecutive fourth-place finishes and then coming second last season with 97 points. This season they're eight points clear at the top of the league after 14 matches.

"There needs to be some enthusiasm for the fans that they're going to see a team that's going to challenge for the league in a year or two," he added. "We haven't seen that at the minute."

Scholes suggested "three or four transfer windows" will also be needed, but in the meantime, he said a top-four finish this season will be "difficult" because those already occupying those spaces "look better" than Solskjaer's side.

The Norwegian picked up 10 wins from 13 league games as interim boss, but United won just two of their final 10 last season after he was given the job on a permanent basis.

Their struggles have continued into this season, as they've won just four times in the Premier League, most recently being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Sky Sports' Adam Bate isn't convinced the team have improved from last season:

Adam Bate @ghostgoal

Manchester United sacked José Mourinho last December having picked up 26 points from 17 games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win the next three (Spurs, City & Everton) to better that total after the club spent big in the summer. Quite the feat to convince anyone this is progress.

Football journalist Alex Crook doesn't think United should stick with the 46-year-old now that former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is available:

Alex Crook ⚽️🎙 @alex_crook

Very laudible some #MUFC fans standing by Solskjaer because hes a club legend but the evidence proves he is not taking the team forward. There is a time and a place to keep faith with a manager. When you have someone of the calibre of Pochettino ready and willing is not that time

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette doubted Pochettino can solve all of the team's problems, though:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

I believe Mourinho was happy to take the payout by the end of his time at #MUFC and he became a bad fit after a decent start. But no way does Poch perform miracles with this squad. He will have to clear out plenty and find economical replacements. The board remain the problem.

Pochettino helped younger players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli develop into international stars, so it would be fascinating to see what kind of impact he could have on the likes of Marcus Rashford, Daniel James or Mason Greenwood.

His transformation of Spurs into consistent top-four finishers and a side that reached the UEFA Champions League final last season suggests he could be getting more out of United's squad than Solskjaer.

United's struggles aren't solely Solskjaer's responsibility, though. The squad is thin in several areas as a result of the departures of Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera, Alexis Sanchez and Marouane Fellaini this year, with no replacements brought in.

If the club don't begin to fill those gaps in January, the squad will continue to struggle whoever is in the dugout.