Belfast Telegraph

Solskjaer: Last few days have been an ‘absolute blast’

The former Norway and Manchester United striker took charge of his first Red Devils match at former club Cardiff.

Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke glowingly of his new team’s talent (Nick Potts/PA)
Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke glowingly of his new team’s talent (Nick Potts/PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not hide his delight about his appointment as Manchester United interim manager ahead of his first match in charge at Cardiff.

Solskjaer has replaced Jose Mourinho in a caretaker capacity until the end of the season after returning to the Premier League from Norwegian side Molde, where he recently signed a three-year contract extension until 2021.

The former United and Norway striker has had success as a manager in his homeland, before an ill-fated eight-month spell at Cardiff preceded a return to Molde where he has been since 2015.

But by coincidence, his United tenure will start at the ground where his English football managerial career began – the Cardiff City Stadium – and Solskjaer was chomping at the bit to take his place in the dugout.

Speaking to BT Sport before the match, Solskjaer said: “That’s the way life is (on playing Cardiff in his first match).

“I have so many friends down there and it did not turn out a success with results but I learned a lot, the club learned a lot, everyone is happy today anyway (for being back in the Premier League).

“It has been an absolute blast in the last few days. Tuesday morning when you get a phone call, of course you say yes without thinking.

“I just smile when I think about Manchester United, playing football for them, walking out at Old Trafford in front of the fans. I have never felt so comfortable than in these walls. You just feel it when you come in, like family.

“Then you see the players, and you think ‘wow, I’m actually managing this group of quality players’ That’s my job now. I want to go out and play with them.”

Solskjaer understands the enormity of the task ahead, with United starting Saturday’s game in sixth place, 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but he insists his side will bring back an expansive brand of football to the Old Trafford fans.

“We are in a results business,” Solskjaer said. “We want to win games. In the long run, to get consistent results and consistent wins, we have to play in a certain way.

“I believe you have to dominant teams, express yourselves, you have to take the games to them. It’s not going to be all-out attack. You have to earn the right to win a game.”

The 45-year-old also spoke about how he will employ techniques used by former boss Sir Alex Ferguson to deal with his squad and his excitement of the talent on offer, particularly in England duo Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

“I admire them at how they have developed into being proper players and what they did at the World Cup. Paul (Pogba) is a World Cup winner,” he added.

“There are so many different personalities. Some need an arm around a shoulder, some need a hairdryer so it’s about knowing people. That’s what the gaffer (Ferguson) was best at.

“I got it three times the hairdryer treatment and once in a while you need it because you can’t get too complacent and comfortable but you want to be confident.

“Make these players play, you can’t say it’s an easy job but it’s a privilege to have that talent and make them express themselves.”

PA

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