Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed a fantastic start to his Manchester United managerial career. When United despatched Paris Saint-German out of the Champions League in their own back yard, it appeared he could do no wrong.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got and the wheels spectacularly fell off. The season petered out with a whimper. It was almost as if the players felt they had achieved something tangible with that victory.
The doom and gloom that surrounded Old Trafford before his arrival resurfaced and players took no time to apparently wallow in self-pity. The early performances under Ole showed passion and intensity, but that disappeared as the results took a turn for the worse.
When he arrived, he had a free hit. If he couldn't perk the team up - and the mood was desperately low - then nobody would have pointed the finger at him. As it was, he lifted everyone with his positive, happy-go-lucky approach.
Ole has responsibility
Now, he is on the chopping block having secured the permanent position. His reign so far has produced ups and downs, although the highs and lows were both prolonged sequences. It's doubtful that will repeat itself, though winning runs will be expected.
There will be blips though. Every game produces an over-reaction these days amongst fans and media these days. Whether good or bad, United are either the best in the world or fit to burn. Ole's tenure has shown that there is a lot of work ahead.
Players have left, and players have come in, but the squad contains signings from each of his predecessors all the way back to Sir Alex Ferguson. He has started to bring in his players, and the blueprint appears to be youth and British youth where possible.
He has introduced homegrown youngsters into the squad and they appear as though they are not there just for the experience. His style has an attacking emphasis, though playing on the counter is quite prevalent also.
Youth and attacking football is a United mix and for that reason, he should be untouchable next year.
He has to be given time. The board have to back him. They have to back him in the transfer market and they have to ensure that they take the rough with the smooth and keep cool heads.
Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho both won trophies. They were two of the biggest names in football and neither saw out the length of their contracts.
What do the board want?
The question is, why were the sacked? Style of play? If that was the reason, then the board mustn't have known what they were signing up for which would make that odd.
So a lack of success? Does it depend on what you call success? Both men won trophies. If Ole wins the FA Cup next year and finishes fifth, is he under pressure?
Solskjaer is a gem of a man. Every press conference is refreshing. He has a knack of answering questions with honesty, yet not giving too much away.
He is intelligent but he knows the game inside out and also knows a player. The way he is handling the situation with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku is also impressive.
He wants to keep both players, but you feel he has his bases covered if the players do get their wishes. The party line is he wants to keep them.
If he can get one or two more signings over the line, then he should have a very good base to work from. There is no reason why United cannot be successful.
The gap between Manchester City and Liverpool is enormous. Nobody can expect United to get close, though what ideally does need to happen is they close the gap.
Pep Guardiola didn't win anything in his first full season, despite having spent money. Juergen Klopp has made Liverpool European Champions, but that was his first trophy in his fourth year.
Solskjaer might guide United to the league, but it's not realistic to think it could be done. Progress is what you want to see, and setbacks must be expected. It's the reaction to the setbacks that must improve.
The United board have a duty now to back their man and give him the tools to be successful.