Although I am of the belief that Ole Gunnar Solskjær should not be given the Manchester United gig full time, he has done everything in his power to prove why he should be given the job permanently.
The Red Devils have rocketed up the table into fourth. While the title is still nowhere in reach, securing European football for another season did not look as likely as it does now.
They’re playing with freedom and scoring for fun. The difference in attitude and demeanour and appearance and feeling between this incarnation of the squad and Jose Mourinho’s is otherworldly despite being made up of the exact same players.
The Manchester United hierarchy could have acted hastily and given Solskjær the gig after what has been a drastic turnaround. However, they should stick to their guns and let him see out the season without any allusions as to his future beyond the 2018/19 campaign.
From Solskjær’s perspective, he would love nothing more than to coach his former club. And his best chance of convincing the board of his credentials as the man to continue to take United forward is right now.
To really solidify his case and make it nigh on impossible to ignore him as a candidate, his next run of games will be telling.
The next month sees five incredibly big matches. While there are arguably winnable games against Crystal Palace and Southampton during this run, the big five sees the Red Devils, their biggest rivals and three different competitions.
United will kick things off when they take on Chelsea in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Already an intriguing tie, the game could have ramifications for Chelsea’s coaching set up as well.
A clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford precedes the Palace and Saints games before three epic contests.
The return leg of the round of 16 Champions League tie against PSG is followed by a trip to the Emirates to take on Arsenal before the month is rounded out with a home Manchester derby.
These games will be the real litmus test not only for Solskjær’s coaching credentials but for the authenticity and longevity of United’s metamorphosis.
What constitutes a pass mark from this month? Progression from the two knockout comps? A set number of points taken from the league? The number of wins? The way in which games were won or lost?
These are questions that with the benefit hindsight will be easy to answer in a month’s time. In much the same way, we will also have a clearer answer to the question ‘should Solskjær be given the job permanently?’