Manchester United appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Molde 'lend' manager to Old Trafford
Northern Irishman Kieran McKenna remains on the first team coaching staff
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been confirmed as Manchester United's caretaker manager for the rest of the season.
After firing Jose Mourinho for failing in terms of style and substance on Tuesday morning, the club have acted quickly to bring in their former striker and reserve team coach.
Molde boss Solskjaer has been brought in until the end of the campaign and will be joined by Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant manager Mike Phelan, who will work alongside Michael Carrick and Fermanagh man Kieran McKenna.
Solskjaer's club Molde have confirmed that the boss is being 'lent' to United, and will return to his post in Norway in the summer. The Norwegian football season runs during the summer, starting in mid-March. Solskjaer will miss around two months of the season.
"That Manchester United ask Molde FK to lend the manager is by itself an event," said Molde CEO Oystein Neerland, "and not least a statement of trust for both Ole Gunnar and Molde FK. We are positive to lend Old Gunnar, we wish both him and the club a success."
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Solskjaer's first game in charge will be against his former club Cardiff City on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.30pm). He spent less than nine months in charge of the Bluebirds back in 2014, relegated to the Championship before leaving on the back of a run of three defeats in seven second tier matches.
Just five months ago, Solskjaer tasted defeat at Mourneview Park when his Molde team were turned over 2-1 by Gary Hamilton's Glenavon in the Europa League first round first leg. The Norwegian side went on to progress, winning the return leg 5-1.
“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role. I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club,” said Solskjær.
Solskjaer had 11 years at United as a player, memorably scoring in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to seal the treble in 1999, and spent a period as their reserve coach, working with the likes of Paul Pogba.
The 45-year-old left to join Molde, where he won two league titles. After that ill-fated spell at Cardiff during which the side won nine of 30 games, he returned to the Norwegian club and secured two second place finishes in the league.
Speaking moments before Solskjaer's appointment was made official, former United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen warned it would be a huge job for the Norwegian.
"It would be a good choice in terms of the fact that they want to bring back some of the spirit that was at United in the time of Sir Alex Ferguson, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a big part of that," he said on Sky Sports News.
"In that respect I can understand they were looking for a candidate who can live up to those expectations.
"If they do decide for Ole and Ole decides to accept then again it is a big ask for everybody. But I think in the short term it would be a good choice to make."
Meulensteen added that bringing in Mike Phelan as first-team coach would be crucial to helping Solskjaer be successful in the role.
"That's massive," he said. "Mike has been with the club a long, long time, as a player and then as assistant manager.
"He will be really important to help Ole to steady the ship and more importantly to get a smile back on the faces of the players and get the best out of them."
Belfast Telegraph Digital