Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given Manchester United a solid base for an encouraging future, according to Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
Scrutiny on Solskjaer’s position as United manager has intensified during a mostly disappointing start to the new season.
While he has been praised for promoting academy players into the first-team picture, problems with goalscoring and a failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera in the transfer window has led many to fear Solskjaer’s long-term plan for the club will come at too great a cost in the short term.
However, a draw with Premier League leaders Liverpool and three subsequent away wins – the most recent a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday – has helped to restore confidence in Solskjaer’s methods.
Howe has certainly been impressed with the way Solskjaer has begun to reconstruct the team with a view to turning the 13-time Premier League champions back into title-challengers.
“Certainly, looking at their last few games, which I have in great detail, I think they have played very well,” Howe said on Friday. “The game against Chelsea was a very strong performance.
“They’ll be pleased with their attacking play and defensive structures. Then, looking back at Norwich City, playing them away is a tough game and I thought they were very professional, did the job and got a really good [3-1] win.
2 – Manchester United have recorded back-to-back away wins at Chelsea for the first time since February 1998. Devilish. pic.twitter.com/3XoBFSJfiB
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 30, 2019
“There’s positive signs for them. They’ve got quality players, a very good manager who has given them real stability. He’s working to the future to build a new Manchester United.
“I imagine it is [hard to work under that level of pressure]. I think he’s handled himself really well and done an excellent job to this point.”
United face Bournemouth on Saturday looking to extend a seven-game unbeaten run against the Cherries.
Their most recent visit to the Vitality Stadium was only settled by a 92nd-minute Marcus Rashford goal, though, and Howe is confident they can give United another stern test.
“Last year was a really tight game. It swung their way in the last few seconds, but we gave them a good match,” he said.
“The game we won here in our first Premier League season, that was a historic moment for us. That gave us real confidence in a time when we needed it.
“We’ve had some tough games at Old Trafford, some difficult moments, but here [at home] we’ve been pretty good against them.
“We need a good start, we need the crowd absolutely with us and we really want this ground pumping.”