Since his retirement in 2013, United have struggled to exert the same dominance over English football that became routine during Ferguson’s time at the club, finishing inside the top three on just two occasions.
However, one of Sir Alex’s former players is now at the helm in the red half of Manchester and has the English giants sitting in second place in the top-flight table, as well as the semi-finals of the Europa League.
United’s progress under Solskjaer has been noteworthy this season, and Earle claims to see similarities between the retired striker and his former mentor.
He said: “I heard him, I heard another interview, I don’t know if it was after the game or before the game. Somebody had mentioned anyway that they’d spoke to Ole, and he sort of said about his backroom staff, said he’s got excellent backroom staff, great sports science, all those things.
“And he said, they aren’t all my strengths. He said, my mind management is my strength, and I thought that was a really interesting telling thing for him to say that I think he’s, you know, and we know that he’s worked under the greatest that there’s probably been in Sir Alex, and we all know that Sir Alex wasn’t necessarily that training ground coach, he was the manager.
“He was the man-manager of that group of some big personality players, but he got them playing, and I get the sense that Ole has started to see himself in that role.”
TIF Thoughts on Solskjaer…
Although Ferguson and Solskjaer are in no way comparable in terms of their managerial ability, given the contrasting achievements of the pair, Earle arguably makes a very valid point in terms of their approach to the role.
While Sir Alex will always be remembered as one of the greatest football bosses to ever grace the game, he was rarely found on the training ground and largely left the tactical side to his coaches, choosing instead to focus on man-management and extracting the best from the players at his disposal.
Solskjaer is often criticised for his side’s apparent lack of tactical style and philosophy, but the improvement of players such as Fred, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba under his tutelage deserves credit and gives value to Earle’s bold claim.