Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise has admitted he has changed his assessment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Manchester United’s recent improvements.
That has seen many change their tune on Solskjaer and Riise is no different, with the Norwegian significantly changing his assessment on his compatriot.
Having previously believed he would be an interim appointment, naming Zinedine Zidane as the man he thought would come in, Riise has hailed Solskjaer for steadying the ship.
“I’ve been very impressed with what Solskjaer has done this season and how he’s turned things around after the stick he’s had from the fans and the media. He’s stuck at it, they’re top of the league and to be honest I think they deserve to be there because of the way they’ve played,” he told Ladbrokes.
“There were a couple of games earlier on this season where pressure was really mounting on Solskjaer. You’re watching United thinking ‘if they lose this one, he’s gone’. They’d win it and you’d skip forward to the next game and think ‘but if they lose this one, he might be gone’. But he has a habit of winning the games that he needs to win for his own sake.
“In the last 7/8/9 games I think they’ve been brilliant. They’ve found a style of play where they’re solid defensively, they press high and they’re so good on the counter-attack. At the moment they’re the most feared team in the league because of how they play that counter-attack.
“They have so much pace up-front, and then they’ve got Bruno Fernandes in behind who can score goals and create chances for his teammates. I think they’ve found the perfect style that works for them.
“Solskjaer has been clever not to change anything too drastically despite the poor run of form United were in a few weeks ago. If you were to start changing your way of doing things, then people can see you’ve lost it.
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Manchester United secured a vital 1-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night to go top of the Premier League.
Paul Pogba scored the decisive goal in a hard-fought contest at Turf Moor, meaning United are now three points clear of Liverpool — who they face this weekend at Anfield.
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“When you don’t believe in your own style of football, you’ve lost. Solskjaer has stuck to his style and the players have started to adapt to that. Look at where they were two months ago; it’s a totally different side we’re seeing now.
“When Solskjaer first got the job, I thought he was just going to last for the season; I thought it was an interim thing and they’d bring someone else in in the summer. I actually thought at that time they would bring in Zinedine Zidane.
“But they stuck with Solskjaer, he’s still there now, and you’ve got to give the boss credit for what he’s done since he took over.”