What is Manchester United under Solskjær? What really is philosophy in football and does Solskjær have one?

Image 1: Ole captured in pre-season training.

What is a philosophy in world football?

The word itself just entered the football literature after Louis Van Gaal mentioned it in a press conference, when he was Manchester United manager.

Okay cool, if Solskjær shares Manchester United’s philosophy…What is their philosophy? What’s their identity?

If you ask any of the Manchester born fans who witnessed the great Sir Matt Busby or Sir Alex Ferguson. They would tell you:

What is “Philosophy of play” ?

So far, we said Solskjær plays “attacking football and adapts” but what is that? When we talked about Guardiola and Klopp, we mentioned a style (i.e. Possession, Gegenpressing, etc..) but not when we talked about Ole. We just said “attacking football”. We’ll get to that. But, let’s define “Philosophy of play” first and see where it came from.

Image 2: Xavi Hernandez, ex-player at Barcelona.
Image 3: Wenger coming to defend Henry after being sacked.

Then, What’s Manchester United and Solskjær’s “philosophy of play”?

Until now, we have mentioned 2 types of football philosophies, Total football or possession based and Gegenpressing. There are another two prominent types; Direct Football and Counter Attack football. Both these types were and are associated with all the Manchester United teams.

Image 4: Rene Meulensteen and SAF discussing tactics
Image 5: Solskjær’s PC after United win City at Etihad.
Image 6: Solskjær’s PC after United 3–1 over Newcastle.
Image 7: Pep Guardiola’s PC on Feb 7, 2021.


There’s no point in choosing one side over the other or saying that Manchester United and Solskjær’s philosophy is invalid. Both sides of the debate have their pros and cons and had their success. It’s favorable to have a pre-planned strategy in possession that can help teams systemically break down opponents. It is also favorable to allow individuals the freedom to make their choices, innovate and let their instincts take control. Both point of views lead to similar results, the more quality players you have at your disposal. Some would argue that player freedom leads to more creativity and unpredictability, which makes the game more exciting. However, there are those who prefer knowing how things are going to go down and like the feel of that systematic guarantee.



Just a guy interested in football.

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