Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's record: How do Manchester United manager's results differ as caretaker to full-time boss at Old Trafford?

We look at how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's record compares as Manchester United's permanent manager to his results as caretaker at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils legend was an unheralded and surprising appointment, but he soon lifted the Jose Mourinho-shaped gloom from around Old Trafford and got the team back on track again.

'Ole's at the wheel' they cried, including the likes of Rio Ferdinand who joined the chorus of fans calling for United to hand him the job permanently.

One night in Paris changed everything, as United somehow managed to dump PSG out of the Champions League with a stunning late Marcus Rashford penalty seemingly giving the board no choice but to give him the job full-time.

Sunday's defeat at Newcastle was a sign of just how results, and performances, have dropped off ever since Solskjaer signed on the dotted line though, and now he's among the betting favourites to leave his job before the season is out.

Here, we've crunched the numbers on Solskjaer's performance both as caretaker and full-time boss.

Red-hot start

Solskjaer won his first eight matches in temporary charge, 10 of his first 11 and 14 out of 19 in all before being appointed permanently in March. He drew two matches in that time and lost three although one of those was the first leg of their Champions League tie against PSG which they were able to overturn in Paris.

From there, things went awry as United won only twice in the remainder of the season before starting the new campaign with three wins inside 90 minutes of the first 11 games, and they needed penalties to see off Rochdale in the EFL Cup. In those 21 matches as permanent boss, Solskjaer's side have lost nine and drawn seven.

The season-opening 4-0 win over Chelsea proved a false dawn and remains the only time this term United have scored more than once in a game - a trend which continued from the end of last season, when they scored seven in 10 games, only netting more than once in the 2-1 wins over Watford and West Ham.

Their raw shot numbers tell a different story, though, with their per-game average actually increasing since Solskjaer was appointed permanently.

In his 19 games as caretaker boss, United scored 40 goals and had 239 attempts on goal for an average of 12.6 per match - a figure that has risen to 14.2 since his permanent appointment, with 299 in 21 games.

That makes the drop-off in goals scored seem baffling on the surface, though of course not all shots are created equal.

A record of 87 shots on target from those 299 attempts in his time as permanent manager is a significant drop-off from 107 out of 239 as caretaker and could indicate either a poor stretch of finishing or more difficult shots stemming from an inability to break down defences.

Case for the defence

The improvement in shot numbers has been mirrored at the other end of the field, with United facing 227 shots at their goal in his first 19 games and just 223 in the 21 since.

That is an improvement from 11.9 shots allowed per game to 10.6 but again, United have conceded far more goals - 27 against 17.

A run of errors from goalkeeper David De Gea towards the end of last season was one factor, while this season's matches suggest the defensive side of the equation has improved with just nine goals conceded in 11 games.

Overall, the statistics indicate United greatly over-performed expectations during Solskjaer's initial run in caretaker charge before under-performing since.

Long-term struggle

United's difficulties date back much further than Solskjaer's appointment, with the club unable to replicate the greatness of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign in the years since.

They have played 342 games in all competitions since his retirement, and the drop-off in their win-loss record compared to the equivalent period at the end of his time in charge is stark.

David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer have tried with varying degrees of difficulty to step out of Ferguson's shadow, with club favourite Ryan Giggs having four games in caretaker charge.

David Moyes
David Moyes was the man who had to replace Sir Alex Ferguson

While Van Gaal and Mourinho won silverware with the club, the managers since Ferguson have combined for 184 wins, 78 draws and 80 losses, compared to the Scot's 231-61-50 record in his final 342 games.

Mourinho fares best, winning 83 of 144 games for a 57.6 per cent win ratio founded on a defence conceding just 0.84 goals per game.

Solskjaer's 47.5 per cent is the lowest win ratio but the numbers in his caretaker spell - winning 73.7 per cent of games, scoring 2.11 goals per game and conceding 0.89 - stacked up well with latter-day Ferguson's 67.5 per cent, 2.03 and 0.89.

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