Danny Higginbotham has told talkSPORT it is ‘laughable’ to suggest Manchester United should sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer.
United capped a disastrous season on and off the pitch with an ‘unacceptable’ 2-0 defeat to relegated Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Sunday.
A posse of pundits and unhappy supporters have called for Solskjaer’s head after seeing their side miss out on a Champions League spot and finish a huge 32 points adrift of rivals and back-to-back champions Manchester City.
But Higginbotham insists the club need to put an end to the short-termism that has reigned since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, and has urged the club and supporters to be patient as Solskjaer begins a long-term project to get United back to the top.
United have not won in more than a month. They have lost four of their last six games in all competitions, with their last victory coming against West Ham on April 13.
Their campaign is now over, and so Solskjaer can put his mind to the massive rebuilding job he has been employed to oversee at his former club.
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Some doubt whether the Old Trafford legend is the right man for the job, but Higginbotham insists he must be given time to make the squad his own – like Jurgen Klopp when he first arrived at Liverpool.
“The talk of people saying Solskjaer should go already, I think it’s laughable,” said the former defender on Tuesday’s Sports Breakfast.
“He hasn’t brought anybody into the club, he hasn’t brought in players he believes fit his style.
“He’s got to be given time in the summer to be able to do what he wants, whether that be bringing players in or getting rid of players.
“There’s been so much chopping and changing. You have to have continuity, because if you haven’t got that, you haven’t got anything.
“You look at Jurgen Klopp and what he’s doing at Liverpool. It’s incredible, but there’s been a plan in place. When he first took over, he didn’t sign anybody. He had a trial period for the players at the club, and that’s what I believe Solskjaer has done.
“From him taking over to the last game of the season, I think he’s been able to evaluate every single player at the club, so he can say which players are going to fit in with his plans and the ones that aren’t.
“So now he goes into the summer knowing what positions he needs to strengthen.
“He also needs a full pre-season, because the fitness levels they had under Jose Mourinho are for one style of football, but the fitness levels they need under Solskjaer are a completely different level and you can’t do that mid-season.”
Higginbotham also believes his former club must completely rethink their transfer strategy, by doing away with their recent tendency to target big-name stars and, again, follow Liverpool’s example.
“I personally think Solskjaer will go for younger players who can be improved, because there have been too many quick fixes at the club in recent seasons,” he added.
“United have looked for the quick fix, they’ve brought in players at their peak or even past their peak – there’s no long-term thinking behind it.
“United don’t have to necessarily go and buy players from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and other top clubs.
“I go to Liverpool, again, and arguably one of the best left-backs in world football right now in Andrew Robertson, he came from Hull City! So instead of cherry picking the best players at their peak, bring in players who can grow and go forward together.
“This is not a short term project, and that’s what everybody has to understand. This is going to be a number of years.
“We know in recent years Manchester United have not been a club that want to give it time, but they’ve got to throw that out the window, they have to give it time.
“This is not a quick fix, this is not something that’s going to be sorted out and United will win the Premier League next year, this is something that has to grow.
“People have to understand that and be patient, because it’s been a mess over the last few years.”
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Published at Tue, 14 May 2019 14:28:25 +0000