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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used an old school presentation to impress Ed Woodward

ED WOODWARD sat back in admiration as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used an old-school method to map out a new dawn at Manchester United.

Solskjaer wrote every United player’s name in its own marker-drawn bubble, alongside ticks on who should stay and who should go.

There were empty spaces, too, for those Ole wanted to get in. It was no state-of-the-art presentation from the new boss installed by United’s executive vice-chairman Woodward.

It also came many weeks before Old Trafford’s head honcho had expected it.

Woodward believed it would take much work for Solskjaer to unravel the mess left behind by the sacked Jose Mourinho and put together his own blueprint.

Less than a year on, and even allowing for a few noughts and crosses along the way, Solskjaer’s picture is coming together.
Only as recently as last month his own situation seemed perilous.

Mauricio Pochettino was the man on everybody’s lips to replace him following the Argentinian’s sacking by Tottenham.

The managerial reign of the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ at Old Trafford looked to be dying in its infancy.

'FLIP CHART, PASSION'

Ahead of back-to-back games against Mourinho’s Spurs and neighbours Manchester City, the word was that he might not make this Thursday’s first anniversary as boss.

But Solskjaer always believed he was on the right path after he dropped through the chimney like Santa Claus last Christmas, with United in desperate need of some festive cheer.

He smiled as he recalled how Woodward came to see him in what was supposed to be a meeting to arrange a meeting.

Instead the Norwegian got right down to brass tacks.

Laughing, he declared: “I’m old school, me. I am not for the iPad or PowerPoint presentations!

“Flip chart, eye-to-eye, passion, write it down and put the names: Yep, yep, no, no, yes. Players, gaps, holes so he knows what I think this group needed.

“I’d been away but I’d been watching. I had a clear idea of what a United team should look like.

“I have been part of a United team and you do want to go back to our traditions of attacking football with pace, power, personalities.

“That is what we are doing. It’s a gradual thing but you see every single day now that these don’t need an operation.

“Sometimes they need some medicine.

But we are on the right track and if you don’t pull your weight or put a shift in, you’re the odd man out in training.

“It didn’t always used to be like that, I have to say.

“We had put a plan together and I had a vision of how I wanted this team to look in 18 months’ time when that season starts.

“We still need some transfer windows before then. I put that plan out for Ed within a month or a couple of weeks when I came here.

“And one or two have changed, yep. There have been a couple of movements since I first showed him how I was thinking on paper.”

The presentation had a devastating effect on the careers of misfiring strikers Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, both of whom Solskjaer wanted out of the Old Trafford door.

Come next month, Nemanja Matic is liable to find he is another name about to be chalked off.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer is planning a major onslaught in the transfer market to fill in more of those missing spaces, having already brought in Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan- Bissaka and Dan James.

In terms of those noughts, the biggest was against today’s visitors Everton in April — when United suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat.

Solskjaer admitted: “That was the biggest eye-opener because if you lose 2-1 or 1-0 or 3-2, a close game, at least then you can see something.

“But 4-0 and it’s a capitulation. That for me was the lowest moment.

“Then of course you lose the last game at home to Cardiff and the whole thing is so flat. But the Everton game was the lowest I’ve been.

“I think you could see that from the press conference, because I didn’t know what to say.

“But these boys know what the next step is and that is to have the same motivation every single game.

“That we keep our identity against teams we are expected to beat because we are Man United.

“You don’t beat anyone here because you have a Man United shirt on. Those days are gone.

“You have to earn that right to win a game and we haven’t done that enough in games that we are supposed to be winning.

“The boys know that now — that our identity is intensity, aggression, urgency and quality.”

MAN UTD (likely): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Pereira, Rashford, Martial.

EVERTON (likely): Pickford, Sidibe, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Bernard, Davies, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

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