Solskjaer is a world away from level of Klopp and Pep

Date published: Thursday 16th September 2021 3:34 - Editor F365

Klopp Solskjaer

Klopp is so much better than Solskjaer and it’s not even a contest as far as the Mailbox is concerned. Try and argue any different by mailing


Klopp v Ole is no contest
I’m big and ugly enough to admit when I’m wrong. I thought, maybe even hoped, Olé’s appointment was going to be a unmitigated disaster. Credit where credit is due, coming second in the Premier League is no small feat.

That said it has always annoyed me when Olé’s first 100 games was compared to Klopp’s as it was always devoid of any context. The context of what the state of the respective squads were, the context of playing style and attitude improvements etc.

The last two days has shown why Olé has a long, long way to go before being compared favourably to Klopp.

United lined up with one of the best players in the Premier League last year, supplying balls to one of the best players in the history game of the game, against relative Champions League minnows and the team could only muster two shots on target.

Now I’m not for one second going to claim that Liverpool’s line-up was full of unheard of players plucked from the lower leagues or that Milan are the powerhouse they once were, but the reason for Liverpool’s victory and United’s loss is the exact same: a solid game plan, a hungry attitude, a togetherness and a drive in the victorious team. I don’t buy the line that United finished second in spite of Olé, I’m sure he had quite a lot to do with it. But until he can learn how to motive this collection of great players, I don’t think anything more than an FA or League Cup is going to be achieved.

And I think Ronaldo is going to be a big problem. Not for United, but for Olé. There’s not a starting 11 that wouldn’t be improved by his presence, but like when we saw in the Euros when he went off injured and to a lesser extent the other night. Ronaldo sees himself as the leader. Not just on the pitch, of the entire club. How can the manager be the top dog when you’re constantly in the shadow of this colossus of the game?

My biggest fear is that Ronaldo (along with the other big signings) will only highlight Olé’s shortcomings and accelerate his demise, leading to United appointing someone who can make this a team that’s more than the sum of its parts. Then they’ll be a serious rival to Petro Pep’s machine.
Big D, Luxembourg


Dear Calvino
Lots to unpack from Calvino there, u ok hun?

Trying to emphasise the futility of looking at a result in isolation by comparing Man Utd’s loss on Tuesday to Liverpool losing a friendly match on penalties is quite the take. As is insinuating that a red card shouldn’t have been shown for a defender scooping the ball off the line with his hand.

It’s not one result in isolation it’s the lack of ability to control a game against well organised opposition – Wolves and Southampton were unlucky not to get better results against your team in recent weeks having outplayed you. So it’s not just the result it’s the nature of it. It’s the lack of organisation and tactical nous. It’s the fact that Man Utd have a team stacked with talent and the game-plan seems to be a) Give it to the talented lads and try to score or b) Sit back and try to hit the opposition on the break.

Your digs about the apparent tactical inflexibility of Klopp show you up to be as clueless as the PE Teacher. Playing the ball short or long depending on the opponent’s defensive line, going for a high press on their defenders or allowing the opponents to come on to them and then counter attacking, playing the fullbacks narrow or wide. These are all options Klopp employs depending on the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, like Gary Neville’s commentary, your assertion that Liverpool are on a downward trend are borne more out of a desire for what you want to happen rather than the reality.
James Outram, Wirral


When two tribes…
It’s a pity that so much of the chat on here ends up with petty tribalism. Biggest culprits are, obviously, Liverpool and Man Utd fans. I get that our biases cloud our thinking. For far too long, I made excuses for Luis Suarez, allowing my impeccable judgement (tongue in cheek, for anyone called Ken) to be clouded because he was good at putting the soccerball in the scoring zone (don’t know why I am being all American).

I learned my lesson there, and had given up on him long before we finally sold him. It was difficult though, because he is a brilliant footballer who gave me a lot of joy when he wasn’t diving, biting and stoking racial tensions.

All of this is a lead up to a linear comparison of Liverpool and Man Utd this week. I would hope that the comparison is fair and reasonable, but I suppose that remains to be seen.

I’m not huge on trying to compare successful managers. They all have certain strengths and weaknesses, so I think it is daft to try and say that Klopp is better than Guardiola (for example). Both have had very different managerial careers and have had to succeed in very different situations. However, as it stands, Solskjaer isn’t a successful manager. I’ll add the word “yet” to try and give some balance. He might still succeed. United have a core of excellent footballers and they are obviously capable of winning trophies.

The juxtaposition of the two managers couldn’t be starker than it was this week. Klopp’s true talent is managing a squad of players. He tinkered with his selection for the Milan game. He didn’t make wholesale changes, but left out key first team players, and replaced them with players who have barely played this season, and in some cases, last season too. And to a man, everyone performed. It wasn’t a flawless performance, obviously, but only the most one-eyed United fan could argue that they didn’t deserve to win (against a team with an amazing away record, even if they are not the force they once were), and actually, should have won with much more to spare. It’s difficult to imagine that they would have played any better with Van Dijk, Thiago and Mane starting. This is no mean feat, and demonstrates why Klopp is clearly one of the best managers in the game right now.

OGS is a world away. The capitulation against Young Boys was a sight to behold, and yes, it was a sight that I thoroughly enjoyed because I am a Liverpool fan and I love it when United f*ck up. He also tinkered a little with the line up (but played all his big guns), and completely shat the bed after the sending off. The modern game is so technical, and the CL is a different animal from the PL.

It must be hard, as a United fan to watch that. Is this just a blip? I mean, Liverpool were shite for about three months last season, and United have been on a great run. But honestly, even with CR7 back at the helm, does anyone think United will win the title this season?

Don’t ask me, I’m a Liverpool fan. My opinion about United can’t be trusted, obviously.
Mat (why be a troll when you can be whatever you want to be online??)


A long e-mail about Klopp, Pep, Tuchel and Ole
Liverpool eh, I checked the stats of the match after 13 minutes and I couldn’t believe my eyes, 12 shots to 1. Not only that, I saw somewhere that they have now taken at least 16 shots more than any other side in the Premier League, they had 28 of those yesterday. Impressive.

Calvino is right, Liverpool for all their ability do play the same way every week or try to. But why does he paint it in a bad light. What are the dangers of playing the same way again; there will be an opponent that is a bad match up for you and you might end up being at a huge disadvantage against them. But for Liverpool, such an opponent does not exist, I have not seen one anyway, Man City are probably the closest to that but games against City are usually very close, I wouldn’t call that a bad match up, so the question is, why change something that works. Your assertion that City’s play is robotic is also a bit misleading, City are the most dynamic team that exists and all pep does is show them the options that exists and let’s them do what they want. Hey, when in the final third, you don’t even have to utilize one of those options, you can just do as you wish. I still prefer Bayern’s play though.

Next, you claim that Liverpool are ageing and going down, have you not heard of Elliott or Jones or Konate or did Liverpool tell you they will have a problem replacing the experienced players? Why do you even want them replaced so quickly, do you not know that the ability Liverpool are showing now is due to the experience they have amassed playing with each other within the system for many years? The two at the front, Salah and Mane are not even up to 30 and you want them replaced? Calm down a bit.

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool.

That brings me to Ole, I have always supported Ole and I continue to support him, his team for example, do not seem to have a bad match up at all. I know why you think other managers may do a better job than him, but if I was to appoint a coach for United at the moment, my top five candidates will be made up of 3 international managers namely Flick, Mancini, Enrique and the other two will be Ten Hag and Roger Schmidt in that order. None are available so you have to persist with Ole. They have been times like the defeats to Burnley and Sheffield United and during almost all those troughs where I have said, this does not happen with so and so in charge, I do not take any such statements back. But, and this is very important, no matter how hard I try to underestimate Ole’s tactical ability, I still cannot bring myself to believe that he is incapable of coaching a ‘system’. Yes, the framework all other managers use these days, so, the question is why?

Well, I don’t know myself, but maybe his way grants him an advantage he will otherwise not have. Bielsa, a great manager who has been handed his two worst defeats by Ole says, United play simple football and called it the “best football”. Quite how one of your pundits managed to turn a compliment like that into a negative is something I may never understand. Tuchel said in his press conference before facing Aston Villa that they have been analysing Aston Villa’s patterns when in possession, that was interesting, what if a team existed that did not have such patterns, it means you don’t have to pick on the coaches’ mind now, you have to pick on that of each individual player, as they are the ones carrying out the actions, that becomes useless. Perhaps that explains why Tuchel always has a hard time against Ole.

But, why the inconsistencies, well, I will put that down to not having been together for a long time like Liverpool, that they do not have a system means they need to know more about each other, they will create their system themselves by constantly playing and training together like the old two strikers at the top where one tells you, I just know this one will be here, and when that happens, if that happens, I am afraid, they will be unstoppable.

That said, the performance against Young Boys was beyond terrible, I don’t buy the idea that City will have done better defensively or that Young Boys wouldn’t have touched the ball if it were City, I watched Brighton absolutely run rings around City sometime ago, Chelsea were completely crushed by West Brom, but even when down to 10 men, those two teams created something, they threatened the opposition and even scored goals, man utd did none of that, I don’t blame his substitutions, Maguire has already explained why Varane was brought on, Lingard for Ronaldo also makes sense because he is a hard worker, Martial for Fred could be justified by Fred being the most likely person to misplace an important pass left on the field, Lingard has played great in the CM position for England and it wasn’t a bad choice, it was the lack of coherent plan that killed it for me, the idea behind everything was clear, but do you also expect the players to do something about being a man down themselves/

Pep or Tuchel may have still lost that match, perhaps with a wider margin, but certainly United don’t end up with only two shots in that game. And yet, I ask that you believe in Solskjaer, they will qualify, if only because Ronaldo is around, but man is ever fickle, the inconsistencies cannot continue much longer, lest, his time becomes the base that lays foundation for a better future. I want him to succeed and I am sure many of those who criticise him do as well.


Rooney to the rescue?
In response to Calvino – Klopp is 100% definitely a better manager than Ole. You can tell by the number of trophies.

I really can’t stand Liverpool, but that much is obvious.

As an aside, it looks like Wayne Rooney has some managerial nous after all, possibly to many people’s surprise. You probably have to give him some credit for doing anything at all with the shambolic situation at Derby, even if he did kamikaze one of his own players.

If he can keep Derby above the relegation line for the next couple of months, Perhaps around Christmas there might be a bigger club out there, with a good squad but a hopeless manager, who would welcome the return of a former hero to rescue them…?
Paul Wardle


Howe about Eddie?
On the note of replacing Ole, sorry I’m aware it may be a shot in the dark but I would like United, to stay in British, hands, call me old fashioned. Conte, only got so far with Chelsea, then wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure if it’s ever possible to have a period like Sir, Alex, again, but I think we could give Eddie Howe a chance. He did perform well as a manager dealing with injury problems and the funding available to him. I believe he could be a good choice for Manchester United. He plays attacking football like Man United, thrive on and knows the English game well.
David Cawthra


CL shocks and ESL implications
I have to disagree with Mediawatch’s take regarding the likely future of the European Super League. It’s obviously true that the original proposal was designed to guarantee income and avoid upsets like YB beating ManUtd. However, this is the part of the proposal which everyone actually involved in football matches (namely coaches and players) strongly rejected.

If (when?) the European Super League rears its ugly head again, it will surely take the form of some sort of meritocracy, including potential for relegation of big clubs, promotion of small clubs and therefore upsets when small clubs beat big clubs. The meritocracy element will overrule most of the objections that coaches and players had to the proposal, particularly from those outside of Britain who were really markedly less against the overall concept of the European Super League than British football fans/journalists/players/coaches were.

The belated realization that the ESL backlash was just a flash in the pan and that football fans are too feckless for any real counter-reaction to take place has been delicious schadenfreude, as it will be when ESL 2.0 is proposed and everyone is blown away by the fact that coaches and players no longer openly reject the concept.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


A World Cup for Pele
A World Cup without European or South American teams sounds like someone desperate for one of Pele’s infamous predictions to come true before he passes on and getting plans together in case something needs to be arranged at very short notice. For that and many other reasons it was good that the great man is apparently out of intensive care and on the mend.
Ed Quoththeraven

More Related Articles