Manchester United won El Sackico, but how long will Ole stay safe?

Manchester United brushed the Spurs aside with ease, but will this win solve their problems, or is it a patch they do not need?

So the game that was branded ‘The Sackico’ has given two sure results. Manchester United won the football match itself with their most cohesive display in the last few months; but by acting fast, Spurs supporters can claim the more significant victory with the firing of Nuno Espirito Santo and his replacement with Antonio Conte.

The appointment of Conte at Spurs is not exactly a complete victory for them. Everyone knows there is a lot more work to be done behind the scenes to get the club in shape, in addition to appointing a talented manager and hoping he will be able to sprinkle some star dust on a dysfunctional but talented team.

But if the events of the 48 hours after the last whistle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium breathed life back into a fan base that has been crushed to submission over the last few years, where does all this leave Manchester United? In the days leading up to this match, most of the attention around the ‘firing’ aspect of El Sackico was focused on Ole Gunnar Solskjær, but now Spurs have acted decisively and Nuno Espirito Santo is looking for a new job.

Solskjær, on the other hand, returned from London with his reputation as a manager improved for the first time in a long time. If Manchester United’s performance against Liverpool was such that it depleted thesauruses of synonyms for the word ‘terrible’, how much of their performance against Spurs was due to the relatively simple adjustment to switch to another formation? How much of it was the well-known reliance on star players who did star player stuff, and how much of it was Spurs’ weak-minded poor performance?

The answer to this is probably ‘a bit from columns A, B and C’, but this result was just as important for Solskjær as it turned out to be for Santo. No one at Manchester United want to to fire Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He is Manchester United royalty, and such a status provides a significant amount of patience. But when we consider that Antonio Conte in the build-up to this match had become strongly associated with the managerial job at Old Trafford, this result changes many people’s perceptions of what is now happening at Manchester United.

When the clubs returned from the national team break in October, much was made of the difficulty of the matches they were to attend, and it did not end with matches against Leicester, Liverpool and Spurs. United face Manchester City, Watford, Chelsea, Arsenal and an increasingly impressive-looking Crystal Palace in their next five matches, and the Watford match may be the only match from which you can confidently predict a United victory.

In the days leading up to the Liverpool match, much was made of Solskjær’s previous record against other ‘six big’ clubs, but it is not as clear as it has been claimed. There is no doubt that he had in the beginning an impressive record against the bigger clubs, but that record was a little more of a draw last season, winning just two of those ten games, with five more games ending in goalless draws. Their last win against Liverpool in the Premier League came in 2018.

United’s next match is away against Atalanta in the Champions League, where a win would make their qualification for the knockout phase of the tournament look very likely, while their next Premier League match is a derby against a Manchester City team. , which certainly looks like. sorts. So there is at least a possibility that Ole will be considered really back at the wheel at the end of their next two games.

United and City have met 20 times since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. United have won eight and City nine, but three of City’s victories came in the first three after Ferguson’s retirement. That’s a pretty good record for United, given a divergence in the teams’ fortunes since 2013. With their tails up after the Spurs game, it could turn out that a trip to see Doctor Tottenham has given them a useful shot at the medication they need after their indifferent start to the season.

But if that is not the case, it is likely that Manchester United will go into the international break in November with clouds popping up over Old Trafford again and a manager less in the pile ‘available’. When Manchester United is Manchester United, of course, there is always another option when the pressure around Solskjær becomes too much for United to last longer. Zinedine Zidane remains available and other options always remain open to this particular club in a way that they simply do not do elsewhere.

There is reason to say that Antonio Conte and Manchester United would not fit well together. Gary Neville said the same thing in the wake of the Liverpool match. But at the time of writing, the #OleOut hashtag is still running lively business on Twitter, and there are still many Manchester United supporters who feel they have missed an opportunity. The losers of El Sackico acted quickly and decisively after their disaster; the winners had already failed to do so after theirs.


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