Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, like those managers that have immediately proceeded him, appears to be suffering from not being Sir Alex Ferguson.
The success that the Scot brought to the club is unsurpassed, and whilst the Norwegian’s brand of football is an upgrade on what the Old Trafford faithful had to put up with under Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes, Man United appear no closer to winning silverware on as regular a basis as the club should be aspiring to.
When compared to the likes of Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp, in terms of tactical ability and the way in which he sets his teams up, Solskjaer is light years away.
So much so, The Telegraph pundit and ex-Liverpool star, Jamie Carragher, has compared the Norwegian to himself as a player.
“Watching Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trying to take on Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel reminds me in many ways of my experiences as a player with England,” he said.
“[…] John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were better than me. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t be better than them. Terry was taller than me and was always going to be better in the air.
“Ferdinand was quicker and stronger. I had to work harder or try to think cleverer than them but they both read the game brilliantly. I maxed out with what I had and probably did well pushing them.
“But the reality is nothing I could do was ever going to supplant the two of them. It’s the same with Solskjaer up against Klopp, Guardiola and Tuchel.
“[…] He’s never going to be at the level of the three managers he’s got to beat. He’s never going to be them.
“He’s never going to have that gravitas. He hasn’t got the presence of Klopp at Liverpool, he’s hasn’t got the trophies behind him that Guardiola has at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City so that when he speaks the players hang off his every word.”
It’s a comment on Carragher’s own shortcomings as much as anything else, but it’s difficult to see that the Norwegian won’t snipe back.
He still, it would seem, has the backing of his paymasters at the club, so comment such as Carragher’s is unhelpful at best and mischievous at worst.
Making it ahead of the weekend’s big clash between Man United and Liverpool also appears to have been a targeted effort from the pundit, but may give the Red Devils all the fuel they need to spring a surprise at Old Trafford.