Saturday's win at Fulham extended Solskjaer's unbeaten game to 11 games
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have done better in his first 11 games as Manchester United's interim manager.
What's going on in the next 11 years? against Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday – will probably determine whether the 45-year-old Norwegian will have the job of replacing Jose Mourinho full time.
Off the court, he pressed the reset button at Old Trafford, restoring Sir Alex Ferguson's time-laden trophy-laden look.
In eight weeks, Solskjaer has cleared the toxic atmosphere of Mourinho's last weeks at Old Trafford – and United fans are happy to go see their team again.
So, how did he do it?
The personal touch
In 14 years as a player and coach at United, Solskjaer has created his own little routine.
When he returned home to Norway, he always came back with chocolate bars to give to staff members whose hard work at the club goes almost unnoticed.
So when Solskjaer arrived on Thursday, December 20th for his first day in temporary chargehe repeated the gesture.
Receptionist Kath Phipps, who has worked at United for more than half a century, was the first recipient. But there were others.
It was not an extravagance show – Solskjaer was doing what was natural. And inside the staff, the staff felt it was the first time a club was back to what it was.
Later the same day, it was the United staff party. No player was involved. Solskjaer was asked if he wished to attend the meeting, given that, given the timing, he might feel that his concerns were more pressing.
Solskjaer is gone. His attendance at the 500-person party at the Lancashire County Cricket Club was not announced and he took the stage as executive vice president, Ed Woodward, and his general manager, Richard Arnold, addressing his staff. He then spent 15 minutes on stage answering questions.
He told those present – who serenaded his arrival – that it was time to give the faces a smile again. He was as good as his word.
Order and routine
After Ferguson, every United manager has changed little things with well-established routines with the cumulative effect of dismantling an empire.
David Moyes took fries from the menu; Louis van Gaal installed spotlights at Carrington for the evening training sessions; Jose Mourinho cut and changed his weekly press conferences, making the target of his anger a journalist, or – more often – one of his own players.
In comparison, Solskjaer remains true to his brilliant conversation on Friday morning at 8:30. These weekly media outlets are no longer the must-see show for Mourinho fuel, but they are longer – and the club's personalities are no longer on guard, wondering what demand has to be landed at their door via the television cameras or newspaper pages.
Significantly, Solskjaer's first significant call after receiving SOS from Woodward was directed to Mike Phelan.
Ferguson's old assistant was not immediately reachable. He was attending a football coaching and education session at Burnley College. Solskjaer did not stop trying.
He knew that Phelan's contribution would be crucial. And that turned out, pointing to Moyes' mistake in allowing him to argue after Ferguson's exit in 2013.
Give a hand
Solskjaer is made a must to speak with all sections of the club, that it is to move around the tables at a dinner organized by Unicef at Old Trafford or visiting the Manchester United age group's training squads and taking pictures in the rain with so many girls. and parents as possible.
Some observers have not even recognized the discreet boss of Old Trafford.
One parent said: "If there is a nicer person in football, I have not met him yet".
Solskjaer wants to give opportunities to young players of the Academy
More openly, Solskjaer sought to find his former teammate Nicky Butt, who now runs the United Academy.
"He has a real knowledge of the academy," said Butt.
"He's a friend of mine." When he came back, one of the first things he said was that we had to sit down and talk, make a relationship and make sure that the players who have the abilities are relieved. "
Two of the Academy's brightest stars, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes, have already made their debut in the first team.
Recording with Fergie
During his brief stint at United, Solskjaer had the misconception that he was simply executing the orders of Ferguson, who had been installed as a sort of pilot sitting in the back.
The truth is more commonplace.
Ferguson has been to Carrington twice since the nomination of Solskjaer – once at the invitation of the Norwegian and another time to see former player Giuseppe Rossi, who was allowed to train at the club .
Solskjaer continues to maintain strong relations with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Solskjaer tends to call Ferguson's office after matches at Old Trafford, but Scottish often has company. The exchange is therefore brief.
Ferguson would only give his opinion if he asked anyway but, at the age of 77 and still not being discharged after a cerebral hemorrhage in May, he merely looks at United's resurgence in the comfort of the directors box.
That's not to say that Solskjaer has not based much of his management philosophy on the beliefs of his former boss.
He wants to attack football to start.
Like Ferguson, Solskjaer tends to observe rather than organize training sessions, which are largely in the hands of Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna. Similarly, Phelan tends to be first in the technical zone on match days.
Keep complaints in house
In the last days of Mourinho, there was clearly an element of players no longer listening to a negative message. Mourinho made a great showing, even within his own coaching staff.
On one occasion, he jumped into the team coach 40 minutes before the scheduled time of departure and sat in silence, without any explanation. When we heard the news, her coaches also rushed aboard. They never really discovered why he had sat there.
Solskjaer will not criticize the players in public but said at his first press conference that he owned a "hair dryer" at the Ferguson. It is understood that he has used it on more than one occasion and, for the unlucky recipient, it is not a pleasant experience.
But such cases and their consequences have been kept secret.
Kissing the city
It is easy, but simplistic, to use every detail of Solskjaer's short tenure to make other damning comparisons with Mourinho's dark third season.
At this charity dinner organized by Unicef last month, Solskjaer abandoned his watch, which raised £ 32,000 at auction. But Mourinho did the same in 2016.
The Norwegian was congratulated for attending the annual Munich Memorial at Old Trafford in a chic tie. The critical comparison was made with Mourinho's less formal look: a hooded club jacket at last year's 60th anniversary ceremony, which was attended by Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton. .
But Mourinho's outfit gave a misleading impression. The 56-year-old was extremely aware of the darkest day in the club's history. He had no doubt about the consequences that his players would suffer if none of them showed up or represented the club in the right way.
Solskjaer, on the other hand, identifies with the city as a whole and regards himself as Mancunian, which contrasts sharply with the 895 days that Mourinho spent in the Lowry Hotel.
Last Monday night, accompanied by Phelan, Solskjaer attended a gala dinner hosted by Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany to raise funds for homeless people in Manchester.
The boss of the city, Pep Guardiola, was sitting at a nearby table. The two men greeted each other warmly and had a good conversation.
Kompany's reaction to the arrival of Solskjaer? "I think it's a touch of absolute class."