Saha: United top brass at fault, not Ole
FORMER Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes any decision to sack Ole Gunnar Solskajer should be viewed as a failure of the club's chief decision makers.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World at a BT Sport event, United's former two-time Premier League title-winning striker has offered a stout defence of Solskjaer's reign as the club's manager, as he insisted Solskajer should not carry all the blame for the club's enduring misery in the years since Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager in 2013.
After United failed to land chief transfer target Jadon Sancho this summer, Solskjaer's future appeared to reach breaking point as his side were crushed 6-1 by Tottenham in the final round of Premier League games before the international break.
Now another of his former team-mates has leapt to his defence, as he told us the finger of blame needs to be directed over several key figures at Old Trafford as United struggle to recapture the glory days he was a part of under Ferguson between 2004 and 2008.
"If the club makes as many managerial changes as they have in recent years, maybe they need to look at themselves and realise they are making the mistakes in their choices," Saha told us, in a comment that may refer to under-fire Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward.
"They pick the managers, the strategy of the club and if it doesn't work, it is not just the manager who has failed.
"If United start a season badly, Solskjaer is not the only one who has questions to answer. It is the board, the people who appointed him and the players as well, of course.
"Ditching a manager after three or four games of the season is not the way to go.
"This is why I believe the club needs to back Ole at this moment instead of rushing to a judgement as we often do when three or four games have been played.
"Remember when Ole got the job and everyone was convinced he had to be given a chance after they beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League playing some great football.
"Now things are going in a different way, but it's the start of the season and you have to understand why it is not perfect at this moment.
"But I think we should not forget the really visible improvements we have seen from United in the last year."
Saha insists United are not as far away from a success as it appears in the opening month of this season, with their woeful home defeat against Crystal Palace backed up by a lucky win at Brighton before the hammering against Spurs.
Defensive calamities from Harry Maguire and the rest of Solskjaer's back line have overwhelmed a team lacking leadership, but Saha believes those calling for managerial change have short memories.
United did well to finish third in the Premier League last season, with Saha suggesting the club's attacking trio of Anthony Martial, Marucs Rashford and Mason Greenwood offer up evidence of the positive impact of the current management team.
"When Ole arrived, I remember some players were trying to leave, others wouldn't sign contracts because the atmosphere at the club was very bad," he continues.
"That changed last season and that was down to Ole. People tend to forget this.
"They did well to finish third last season, they didn't win a trophy, but everyone would agree there was progress and young players were developing well under Ole. They had a style and a direction that has changed and changed for the better.
"The reality is that Rashford will say thank you to Ole. Greenwood will say thank you and Martial will say thank you because he has helped them to become better players in the last year.
"All that work cannot be forgotten because of a couple of bad games, even though I accept losing 6-1 at home to anyone is not acceptable for United."
Saha went on to suggest Solskjaer has a squad to lead United to success this season, as he argued the fine margins between success and failure could be highlighted in the coming months.
"I don't think we need to wait two years for this United team to have success because it can be sooner than that, but it is hard to recreate what we had when I was at the club and they were winning every season.
"The Premier League has changed since my time and there are so many more clubs with real ambition now.
"Tottenham is there, Arsenal is there, Chelsea are spending so much money and we have just come out of transfer window where we had £1billion spent by the Premier League clubs."
The case for Solskjaer's defence has been made by plenty of his former team-mates during his nearly two years in charge at United, but the only voice of support that matters is in the Old Trafford boardroom and ahead of a week that will see them take on PSG and Chelsea, the warning signs are flashing brightly.
The BT Sport Monthly Pass lets you watch BT Sport for a simple monthly fee of £25 with no contract. Customers can watch all BT Sport Premier League fixtures for the next 30 days. For more info visit bt.com/monthlypass