The Norwegian was appointed permanent manager of Manchester United this time last year, and while he’s had some difficult moments to navigate, there have also been undoubted positives during his tenure.
One such benefit has been the growth of certain players under his guidance. Here are three players that have been improved by Solskjaer’s management.
The Frenchman moved to Old Trafford from Monaco in 2015 and made an immediate impact with a goal against Liverpool on his Premier League debut. He followed that up eight days later with a brace against Southampton during his first Premier League start.
SportVectru understands that, Martial finished the season with a respectable 11 goals and 4 assists in 31 league games, and the future looked bright for him. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the Frenchman, and he managed only four goals and six assists in 25 games the following season.
The 24-year-old managed double figures in the league last season, but the majority of those goals came under Jose Mourinho. This season has seen a sharp rise for the striker, however, with Martial registering 11 goals in 23 games. On course for his best season at Old Trafford, much of that is down to an improved composure in front of goal.
The forward’s ability to glide past opponents has never been in doubt. Still, Solskjaer has sought to challenge Martial to be better in front of goal.
“He’s got his critics, and I’m one of the biggest,” Solskjaer said recently. “But he’s come up with a No.9’s goal against Chelsea, he did everything to get the goal against Bruges and today is more than Anthony we know about. The skill for that goal was just mind-blowing, but I want more from him.”
The 47-year-old made a career out of being deadly in the penalty area, and it seems he is trying to cultivate the same skill in Martial. It’s early days, but there is enough evidence to suggest that Solskjaer is succeeding in his attempts.
A product of United’s academy, Rashford burst onto the first-team picture with a brace in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland. He built on that with another two goals against Arsenal, and the possibilities felt endless for the striker.
Another player that at times felt stifled under Jose Mourinho, the striker broke double figures in the Premier League last season. Still, the majority of his goals came after Mourinho had left Old Trafford. This season he has formed a deadly partnership with Martial, and it has returned 14 goals and four assists in 22 league games.
The Norwegian appreciated that Rashford did his best work out wide, with his 16 appearances on the left-wing producing 12 goals this season. Speaking after a standout performance against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season Solskjaer revelled in the freedom Rashford was playing with.
“It was the best performance Marcus Rashford has had under me,” Solskjaer confirmed after the match. “It’s like he was back on the playground, we just want these players to express themselves and have fun.”
Unfortunately out through injury right now, the future looks bright once again for Rashford and so much of that is down to Solskjaer.
The Brazilian midfielder has often been a scapegoat while at Old Trafford, with some press reports even suggesting Mourinho didn’t want him at the club.
“Well, I think you’re not surprised when a player who has played in Ukraine finds it a little bit hard in the beginning,” Solskjaer said. “But we know the talent is there. We’ve seen, towards the end of [last] season, what Fred can give us: the PSG game, the Arsenal and Man City games.”
This season has seen an uptake in Fred’s form, and it’s in large part down to Solskjaer giving him a dedicated mentor.
“Michael Carrick helps me a lot day-to-day,” said Fred, who revealed that the former United midfielder has helped him improve his positioning and his composure on the ball. “We always talk, and he tries to help me with my positioning on the field.”
The former Shakhtar midfielder has also enjoyed a purple patch in the Europa League this season where he has two goals and four assists in six games. It has undeniably taken time for him to settle at Old Trafford, but the hope now is that the best is yet to come from United’s midfield maestro.