Why the Carabao Cup could kickstart a trophy surge under Solskjaer

It has been just over two years now since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer first took charge of Manchester United, and whether you are Ole in or Ole out, there is no doubt that winning the Carabao Cup could only act as a positive for the Norwegian moving forward.

At the back end of last season, United were in unstoppable form and found themselves finishing third in the table – a real positive for the United manager.

But the real hurdle that Solskjaer would love to overcome is winning that first trophy. 

Last season's cup performances were great for the most part, but ultimately United came unstuck in all three semi finals – a failure that United and the Norwegian manager will not want to be associated with again this season.

United came close in last season's Carabao Cup as Nemanja Matic's thunderous volley wasn't quite enough to overturn a 3-1 deficit against Manchester City in the semi final – but Solskjaer will fancy his chances this season.

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Here's why success tomorrow evening, (and in the competition as a whole) could act as a real boost for the United boss in months and years to come:

  • Fans will become less divided:

If at the fourth attempt United can overcome their semi-final woes and progress in the competition, the red half of Manchester will see this as real progress.

However, it will ultimately come down to wether Solskjaer is able to win the cup come April.

Although many regard the Carabao Cup as not holding high importance, a trophy is a trophy – and the sooner the United boss has a trophy to his name the better.

As for the fans who aren't too trusting in Ole, lifting the trophy may just reassure them that the manager is making the right steps. With a more positive atmosphere around Old Trafford coming from this, perhaps a Carabao Cup win would act merely as the beginning of many trophies to come.

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  • The fear factor:

It always gets talked about. Wether you've followed United for decades or you're at an age where you don't remember the glory days – everyone knows the fear factor of playing against United has been lost.

For many years, rival teams would go into games against Manchester United thinking that they had lost before the match had even begun.

Unfortunately for red fans, this fear factor has slowly deteriorated over the past 7 years.

If United were to lift the Carabao Cup, of course this doesn't mean they are automatically as scary an opposition as they were years ago, but the opposition may have the idea that United are getting better in the back of their minds.

This could, in turn, benefit United in the long run as other teams play within themselves when facing Ole's men.

It is still yet to be seen, but a first cup win for Solskjaer could act as a catalyst in bringing the fear factor back to Old Trafford.

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  • How the club looks from the outside:

Back when Sir Alex Ferguson was guiding United to title after title, it appeared as if every player across Europe was desperate to come and play at Old Trafford.

As the club's results have regressed, as have the signings for the most part.

But who's to say that footballers won't be looking out for how United are doing, chomping at the bit to join the club if they start winning things?

Albeit only a Carabao Cup, success breeds success.

Titles mean recognition, and lifting the trophy in April may ring alarm bells in players' minds across Europe – maybe joining United now seems a good proposition?

Had United have won competitions in the recent past, it would have been hard to see the likes of Erling Braut Haaland and Jude Bellingham opting to join Borussia Dortmund as opposed to United.

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But the reality is that Manchester United have not lifted enough trophies in recent years to attract the biggest talents – Carabao Cup success could change this.

  • Player and manager confidence:

Lifting a trophy lifts the spirits of every individual associated with a club: fans, staff, media – but none more so than the players and the manager.

And there have been many times in recent years where it has looked like United players, and even Solskjaer, are running low on confidence.

Winning that first cup under Ole would boost the camaraderie amongst the United players – and hopefully for the long run.

And as for Solskjaer, he would be brimming with confidence coming into work every day, knowing that all the scrutiny he has had to endure was well worth it.

The belief he has in his own ability would be rocketing, which would only spread fear amongst fellow managers.