The third international break of the season has always been seen as a time for owners to get rid of their managers and we’ve already seen three Premier League coaches leave their positions.
Steve Bruce, Daniel Farke and Dean Smith have all lost their jobs in what is a brutal industry. In the context of Manchester United, Smith’s sacking is particularly relevant. Why? Well, let me explain.
We have to start with the current situation at United. A run of two wins in their last six matches has heaped pressure on the current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The majority of Manchester United supporters are now wanting him to leave the club.
United have won just once in their last six Premier League matches at home and Dean Smith, who was dismissed by Villa, has picked up three points more recently at Old Trafford than United themselves. That’s a pretty grim read.
It’s why some supporters have argued that Villa are showing more ambition than United because they’ve acted swiftly to remove a problem at their club. There might be more than one issue, but as harsh as it is, removing a manager is probably the easiest thing to do in football.
If Solskjaer was at any other club, he probably would’ve been gone by now. But this is Manchester United – they don’t do things in a normal manner!
MEN Sport understand Solskjaer is still on borrowed time as United manager and, although it looks unlikely to turn things around, the club are yet to identify an obvious replacement should they decide to make a change. This is probably why he’s still in a job.
Smith has won more recently than Solskjaer at Old Trafford and he’s out of a job (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images) But this got me thinking. Yes, I know there’s no candidate that’s available on a free, but this is Manchester United. Why couldn’t you try and attract a manager out of a football club?
None of United’s ideal targets for the job are on the market and if you are to believe reports, the preferred candidates are Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag.
Pochettino is at PSG, Rodgers is at Leicester and Ten Hag is at Ajax. Big clubs, but are they bigger than United? I don’t think so.
It makes you wonder if there are more incentives behind the Glazers thinking because surely they can see how bad things are at the moment? I think another reason why they haven’t sacked Solskjaer is probably due to finances.
Solskjaer signed a three-year extension recently, so it would cost to give him the axe. United’s owners would also have to spend if they were to recruit one of their preferred choices, but this would highlight they care more about money than the club.
Villa has shown United that it’s possible to bring in someone who’s already contracted to another club. Their owners have made a move for Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, and they look set to announce his appointment imminently.
This puts United in their place and teaches them a huge managerial lesson. Why? Because it just shows that coaches can be taken midway through a season if the owners had the desire to try and do it. Unfortunately, I don’t think United’s hierarchy do.
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Put it this way. Has United ever spent money on a managerial appointment midway through the season? No, they haven’t! Have they ever tried to snatch a manager away from a club? Not at all, which makes me think they’re putting money above what’s right for the football club.
If United had any ambition, they’d be talking to Pochettino, Ten Hag and Rodgers to see whether they’d be willing to come and accept an offer.
This season can be salvageable, but until the Old Trafford hierarchy realises this, nothing will change.
Have Aston Villa taught United a lesson? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.