After a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool in December, Manchester United showed Jose Mourinho the exit door and appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as interim manager until the end of the season.
If reports are to be believed, and eyesight can be trusted, the majority of players at the club were unhappy with the Portuguese tactician’s pragmatic approach.
Results were not going their way, while they had failed to beat any of the top six teams in the league under the guidance of the former Chelsea manager.
Things have changed since the Old Trafford favourite took charge and the 20-time English champions have won all six games so far, which includes a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, and have kept clean sheets in the last three fixtures.
Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have been key players in the attack, while Nemanja Matic, who was heavily criticised for his displays when Mourinho was in charge, looks like a different player, along with Ander Herrera.
Their change in form is down to Solskjaer’s attacking philosophy, according to Martial.
“It is great for me to work with a manager who was attacking even when he was playing, just like me. He comes with good advice, especially suggestions for positioning in front of goal and the actual finishing. There, he helped me a lot,” Martial told Norway’s TV2.
“The best advice I have received from him until now is that I have to play to my strengths. Don’t put pressure on myself. He says I have to express myself on the pitch. It is very nice to be able to get such advice from Solskjaer.”
During United’s trip to Dubai, Solskjaer stressed ‘how lucky’ the players are to be at the club.
“He talked a lot different when we were in Dubai. He told us about the tricks he picked up as a player and how lucky we are to be part of Manchester United,” the Frenchman explained.
“Maybe I don’t want to say that. But we all know that he was great when he was a player. So we listen when he tells us something.”
Martial also mentioned how strict Solskjaer is with his players. He said, “The name Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it is a little harder to take on and pronounce for the players, understandably. Therefore, they simply call him ‘Coach’.”
“Yes, he has already shown that. He can be quite strict with those who have earned it. A good manager must have a bit of both, he must be strict with the players, but also create joy and a good mood.”
Martial has endorsed the possibility of handing Solskjaer the permanent job at United beyond this season.
“At the moment everything goes very well, all the players are happy. So if it goes on like that, why not?” he concluded.