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Ole loving managerial challenge


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is pleased he went into management

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is pleased he went into management

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is pleased he went into management

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is glad he ignored Steve Bruce's advice to avoid a career in coaching.

The two former Manchester United favourites come face-to-face for the first time on Saturday in a match that both see as a big chance to bank three important points in the Barclays Premier League relegation battle.

The pair never crossed paths at Old Trafford, with Bruce leaving United in 1996, just before Solksjaer arrived.

But when they met subsequently, Bruce light-heartedly attempted to steer the Norwegian away from a life in the dugout.

It was never a tip Solksjaer was likely to take, as he coached the Red Devils reserves and then began his career as a number one with Molde.

He may now be in charge of the Premier League's second-bottom side, but the 40-year-old is still content with his decision.

"I don't really know Brucey that well because he left before I came to United, but we've met a few times," he said.

"We never got to know each other as players but I remember he said to me a few years ago about management 'don't even think about it because it's too stressful'.

"But I enjoy it, I love it. You could have an easy life - it's not like you have to work because you've made your money - but that's not me."

Solskjaer even suspects Bruce is having a good time again, having put a disappointing end to his Sunderland reign behind him by leading Hull back to the top flight.

The Tigers are the best-placed of the three promoted teams heading into the weekend fixtures, with Crystal Palace a point behind them and the Bluebirds a further four adrift.

"I've always looked up to ex-Manchester United players who have done well and the way he has bounced back, having had ups and downs...he seems to be enjoying it," said the Cardiff boss.

"I'm not surprised how well they've done. But if we win we'll only have two points to make up on them.

"If you look at the situation they're in and we're in, there's not too much between us, which you'd expect for teams coming up from the Championship."

Manager Steve Bruce believes Hull's season could hit new highs in the next three days, but is praying injuries do not ruin the fun.

The Tigers can give their survival hopes a major shot in the arm on Saturday before a quick turnaround sees them host Brighton in Monday night's FA Cup fifth-round replay.

Bruce is ill at ease with the idea of playing twice in little more than 48 hours but accepts that two victories would leave his side with plenty to look forward to.

Barclays Premier League safety is the priority, and would move one step closer to reality with success in South Wales, while a home quarter-final draw against Sunderland awaits the winners of the cup clash.

"Can we get to 30 points and be in a cup quarter-final by Monday? It's all to play for and it would be a terrific boost for us all," he said.

"It's a big game every week for us, from the day we started at Chelsea to our first home game. They're all big games and Cardiff is another one.

"We could open up a huge margin over them, (effectively) nine points if you count the goal difference, then there's the chance to play for a home quarter-final.

"We're not exactly steeped in history and tradition of going to FA Cup finals or semi-finals, so it would be terrific for everyone concerned.

"Why can't we mount a challenge on two fronts?"

Despite his enthusiasm, Bruce concedes that the prospect of injuries remains an issue, particularly with so little recovery time between outings.

The Brighton clash cannot be played on Tuesday or Wednesday due to UEFA guidelines on Champions League weeks, meaning both sides will be crossing their fingers for a clean bill of health as well as a positive result.

"It's not easy playing Saturday, Monday; I think that's ridiculous," said Bruce.

"It baffles me. Footballers could play every day but they can't play with the same intensity.

"It's like asking an athlete to run a race and then do it again the next day in the same time. It won't happen.

"The thing you have to guard against, that we all worry about, is if you play more games you pick up injuries.

"Very rarely does it happen in training, most of them come taking part in games. If you put your first 11 out and lose two or three of them for the run in, you've got problems."