Solskjaer is not even close to taking charge of Man Utd permanently… his populist status will wear off

Four wins on the spin under the guidance of an old terrace favourite sends people a bit giddy.

Lads, Manchester United have beaten Huddersfield, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

Even Jose Mourinho, in the final home game of his tortuous regime, beat Fulham 4-1.

But the true test is against the top teams, with the tactical acumen of Solskjaer and his assistant Mike Phelan placed under scrutiny on the biggest stage.

To land one of the biggest jobs in football, to put himself ahead of top target Mauricio Pochettino, will take something remarkable.

Their first proper examination is a week on Sunday, when United travel to face Tottenham at Wembley.

Solskjaer, taking advantage of dressing room goodwill after the Special One was finally sacked, has a full week to prepare for the trip.

Once they get tomorrow’s FA Cup tie with Reading out of the way, United’s caretaker manager has seven days to work on his system.

Coaches crave time out on the grass with their players and Solskjaer has a generous helping of that in the build-up to one of the biggest games of the season.

Back in August, Poch did a number on Mourinho, outwitting one of the greatest tactical minds of all-time on home turf.

Spurs soaked up 45 minutes of pressure, handling everything United could throw at them, before catching them on the break with two goals at the start of the second half.

In the 84th minute, they rubbed it in that little bit more when Lucas Moura scored his second.

It was confirmation for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that Poch is the coming man in world football.

With that in mind, Solskjaer will need some head-turning victories before he can move to the top of United’s shortlist.

Soon enough though he will get his chance, with the home games against Paris Saint-Germain (February 12) in the Champions League and Liverpool (February 24) just around the corner.

For a club with United’s history, pedigree and resources, there is no such thing as a free hit.

There is still something to salvage this season, with a shot at the top four, the FA Cup and a run deep into the Champions League up for grabs.

In the short-term, the Norwegian is a populist appointment.

United fans have bought into him, trading on memories of his winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final and his cult status on the Stretford End.

That wears off eventually though.

He has shown a sense of adventure, making bold, early, attacking substitutions to shake things up.

It is a classic characteristic of young coaches.

At Newcastle on Wednesday, he sent on Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez after 63 goalless minutes.

He could easily have taken credit for them turning the game around, but his post-match analysis was dignified and humble.

Solskjaer had made similar changes against Huddersfield on Boxing Day, sending on Ander Herrera and Ashley Young to give United a lift eight minutes into the second half.

These are short-term, game-changing solutions, but United are crying out for an overhaul behind the scenes.

Some of the Special One’s criticism of the club’s antiquated ways is justified.

He has been moaning to friends about the set-up, comparing every aspect of it to Real Madrid.

Mourinho believes United are too insular, an old-fashioned English club with too many people clinging on to past glories.

Soon enough it will be someone’s job to reshape it and drag United into the modern era.

For that, they will need more than an old terrace favourite.

Source: Read Full Article