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exclusive I'll always have doubts about Solskjaer until I see him with some silverware in his hands

An FA Cup win and a second-place finish in the Premier League would be a successful season for United

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulates Paul Pogba after the win over AC Milan

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulates Paul Pogba after the win over AC Milan

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulates Paul Pogba after the win over AC Milan

SO would you rather have Brendan Rodgers or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managing your team?

It’s a question we might get an answer to this afternoon as Leicester and Manchester United lock horns in what promises to be an intriguing FA Cup quarter-final at the King Power Stadium.

Personally, I’d have to say Rodgers is the manager you would have more faith in, and that’s not because I have anything against Solskjaer.

Brendan has done well everywhere he has been in his career, as he very nearly led Liverpool to the Premier League title back in 2014, and then won trophies galore at Celtic.

As for Solskjaer, he is still waiting to win his first trophy as he edges towards his second full season at United. And the wait needs to end this season, if he is to banish the notion that he is lacking the experience required for such a massive job.

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Brendan Rodgers goes head-to-head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Brendan Rodgers goes head-to-head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Brendan Rodgers goes head-to-head with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Given my United connections, I want Ole to succeed and I’d be delighted if the scepticism I have about his decision-making is banished in the next few weeks, but there will be doubts about Solskjaer until we see him with silverware in his hands.

An FA Cup win and a second-place finish in the Premier League would be a successful season for United, but only because expectations have been diluted at the club in recent years.

In my time at United, I thought we were doing quite well when we finished second in the old First Division and won the FA Cup, but Alex Ferguson then came in as manager and let us all know that second place was a failure.

I was one of the players shown the door as he changed the culture of the club and introduced a winning mentality that served United so well for the two decades that followed.

Yet it seems United are not showing that level of ambition right now – and this explains why so many fans are not sure whether Solskjaer is the man to lead them.

No United manager should be satisfied being 14 points behind league leaders Manchester City, but that’s where we seem to be at this moment – and it needs to change.

Maybe the starting point for Ole – as he looks to convince doubters, like me, that he can get the good time rolling again at Old Trafford – could be in the FA Cup.

Ferguson might have been sacked as United manager if he failed to win this competition back in 1990, with his FA Cup triumph giving him the platform to start a run of success that set so many records.

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Manchester United's Paul Pogba (centre) celebrates scoring against AC Milan

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (centre) celebrates scoring against AC Milan

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (centre) celebrates scoring against AC Milan

Any team needs to win a trophy to confirm they are heading in the right direction and while you can see so many good things in this current United side, they have not won anything yet – and the doubt will always be there until they do.

Tougher

For that reason, today’s game is massive for Solskjaer and they could not have been presented with a much tougher task than an away game against an impressive Leicester side.

You have to hand it to Rodgers and his team because they lost their way badly at the back end of last season but have bounced back.

Leicester lost all their momentum when football returned behind closed doors after the Covid-19 shutdown last summer, but Rodgers regrouped ahead of this season and this time they look certain to secure a top-four finish.

It would be a fine achievement for a side with a modest budget compared to sides like Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, who look likely to miss out on Champions League qualification and Brendan deserves a lot of the credit for that.

He appears to be a good man manager, gets the best out of players and has achieved sustained success over a long period of time now.

I’m not saying he should replace Solskjaer as United manager, as I’m not sure how the fans would react to the prospect of a former Liverpool boss taking over at Old Trafford.

But you can see a scenario where Rodgers ends up being offered a top job once again in the near future and if he wins the FA Cup this season, his reputation will soar to new heights.

It would be good to see a new name winning a trophy in a season when Manchester City are threatening to dominate, but there is no getting away from the reality that the FA Cup is not a priority for any of these teams now and that saddens me.

In my time at United, playing in the FA Cup final was the ultimate dream and winning the competition after we beat Everton in the 1985 final was a moment to cherish.

Back then, the FA Cup was THE competition to win and the biggest day in English football, but it has become a sideshow now as the top teams put their reserves out for a lot of matches in the early rounds.

I’d love to get back to the days when the FA Cup was special and the football world ground to a halt to watch the final, but it feels like that horse has long since bolted now.

It’s all about the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League and money, money, money now.

Yet football clubs like Manchester United need to be winning trophies and I hope Solskjaer and his players appreciate how important this competition is to the club’s fans.

Of course, all supporters appreciate the significance of qualifying for the Champions League, but you want that day at Wembley as a fan and players should want to get that medal in their hand.

There are suggestions that 20,000 fans will be allowed to attend the FA Cup final at Wembley in May and that would certainly be another incentive for me to make sure I do all I can to get to that big day and end up as a winner.

No-one will remember who finishes second in the Premier League this season, but the winners of the FA Cup will have a place in the history of the game that can never be scrubbed out.

Solskjaer needs to get Manchester United’s name back on the FA Cup roll of honour to silence those of us who are yet to be convinced that he is a winner as a manager.

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