Manchester United cannot waiver and must back Solskjaer long term
Criticism is starting to come Solskjaer's way (Photo: Matthew Peters/Getty Images)

In life, taking a backward step can prove to be a mistake. In life, experience counts for a lot. It's possible Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have taken a backward step by placing a huge emphasis on youth and ditching the old guard.

The departures of Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, and latterly Matteo Darmian have taken a huge amount of experience out of the team. 

After an encouraging result against Chelsea on the opening weekend, where Manchester United played with a lot of vibrancy, the team have hit the speed bumps. Whilst all the performances have had promise, it's clear already that this season could well be a struggle.

In 1995-96 United had an overhaul in the preceding summer. Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince were all sold. The "Class of '92" were introduced and United would go on to win the Double.

The youngsters then were aided by players of huge stature and experience that had already won two League titles. Additionally, there was no Manchester City or Liverpool to contend with - not in their current guise at least.

The '96 youngsters became legends and became world-class footballers. They may struggle now to make the impact they did back then though. 

It's not so much that football has changed. It's just that City and now Liverpool have built formidable teams and the bar has been raised like it was when Chelsea were first bankrolled by Roman Abramovic.

You won't win this league with kids

So the current kids, whilst very much in the mould of those who have trodden a path before them, are alright - they have no time for mistakes. At least if you expect them to win a league.

Let's face it, that ship has already sailed. For that reason, the fans of United, especially, should just sit back and enjoy what Solskjaer is building. Yes, enjoy.

In addition to the departures, Scott McTominay has ousted Nemanja Matic in centre midfield meaning United really do have a young team right now. With youngsters comes inconsistency.

Currently, it's the forward line that exudes inconsistency the most. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are the ones charged with scoring the goals. They can. And they can become world-class, they have the attributes.

Yet they are scorers of some great goals but not great scorers of goals. Rashford has two in four and Martial two in three this season. Not bad, but you wouldn't hang your hat on either of them finishing a chance though.

They are also both frustrating in their play. Both can beat a man, both have sublime skill, yet both can run into a defender and lose possession equally as easily. They are bums on seats players, but they can also look like bums.

Daniel James will thrill fans. The young Welshman has been quite remarkable in his transition from Swansea in the Championship to United in the big league.

He has also shown naivety, yet scored three fantastic goals and has electric pace and a willingness to drive at defenders. Old Trafford may be the perfect stage for him. Patience is the key. With the players, but mostly the manager. 

What Solskjaer is doing is brave in no uncertain terms. He may well be taking a backward step, but he seems to have a vision. It involves young legs, pace and attacking instincts. 

Management experience did not help

After David Moyes, who was inept, and Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho who were tactical and generally negative then he should be applauded. 

The results are not what they should be and that is attracting criticism. It's understandable, but since Sir Alex Ferguson left the helm nobody has really been able to maintain or resurrect what he achieved.

Solskjaer is being criticised for lacking tactics, something that is quite fanciful. The team do rely on the counter-attack quite a lot, yet they do try and dictate possession.

United this season currently have had 59.8% possession in games this season. City have 59.9%.

He is actually now additionally being accused of not playing enough youth, with Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood being touted for starting places. You can't win them all.

Solskjaer has been bold. Very much so. He doesn't have two league championships to fall back on, or two trophies in one season, as Mourinho did. So he won't have the time permitted in days gone by.

He should have this and next season at least though. He is promoting youth and a brand of football that is synonymous with United. That should be applauded, not picked apart by team selection on any given day United don't win.

Had United stuck by any of the managers in the wake of Ferguson going it's entirely possible they may have regained "their" Premier League crown.

Moyes was out of his depth. But throughout his tenure at Everton, despite playing a largely rearguard tactic, he signed some excellent players. Had he been able to build a team, he may have eventually tripped onto a winning formula. Speculative.

Van Gaal was a master tactician. Ask Wayne Rooney.  He was a character, and who knows what may have happened after his first taste of silverware. With another transfer window to play with, his boring possession football may have reaped the ultimate reward.

Mourinho won two trophies, but you can't help feeling that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a big role to play in that. The mercurial striker was a huge influence on the dressing room, and he performed from day one.

His injury in his first season and the signing of Lukaku spelt the end, but the way he is playing in the MLS suggests that he still could perform at the highest level. Talk of a return is maybe a fantasy, but the man was an enigma.

In Mourinho's second season, a second-place finish was good but tempered with the fact United were 19 points adrift as runners up. He never got his way in the following transfer window and the writing was on the wall.

His constant griping, sniping and pointing the finger provoked the inevitable departure and the results that Solskjaer got initially when he took over showed that the Portuguese had run his course.

Maguire would have made that much difference?

Mourinho was desperate for Harry Maguire. Understandably so. The guy proved himself at international level and United needed a leader. That Solskjaer was able to sign him - for allegedly more money than United offered a year previously - means that Solskjaer is being backed. 

United were wretched in the first few months in Mourinho's last season. Would Maguire really have tipped the balance? He has started well and looks like he could be a big part of United's future, but so far not as if he could have halted Mourinho's departure.

Every United fan should back Solskjaer now. What do they have to lose? There have been disappointing results. Disappointing performances. From a wonderful start, there are now huge questions being asked.

Yet Solskjaer responds to every question with a smile. He has been impeccable in his role so far in front of the media. He hasn't dodged a question. He hasn't given anything away either.

Many "a source from inside the club" quote has come out about he is angry about one thing or another. That may or may not be true. On times, it probably has been. His mantra is to give nothing away that doesn't need to be spoken about.

Forget all of the pressure coming from the media. The pressure comes from within. The "Baby faced assassin" earned the nickname because he got a sniff of a chance and he took it. With aplomb.

He is cold, but he smiles. He always had and always will have determination. If he can instil that into his players, young or old, he will be taking steps forward. 

Ole's at the wheel. Don't doubt the driver.

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