Ole on the Line: The Tasks Ahead for Manchester United’s Manager

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3. Re-establish Man United’s tradition of attacking football

What has singled out Manchester United throughout their modern history and engendered them a global fan base has been a flair and commitment to fast-paced attacking football. The club’s history is replete with a long retinue of accomplished attackers including the incumbent manager. Even within the present team, there is no lack of attackers; rather what is pityingly lacking is an attacking style of football. This is largely because of the absence in the team of a fast and wily playmaker, a creative, central attacking midfielder who is an excellent passer of the ball and who is tasked to make the final ball, split open opponent’s defenses and create spaces for the strikes to run into and score goals.

Quite often United’s teams have been afflicted by the so-called ‘park the bus syndrome’, and Ole’s team last season relapsed back into that mentality, a return to a quasi-defensive football that fans derisively called ‘hoofball’. Solskjaer has to inculcate into the players the physical and tactical nous necessary to mould them United into a team that is adapted to playing the sort of the fast-paced pressing football that has become the hallmark of successful Premier League teams.