Thursday 27 June 2019

A look at Manchester United’s new caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Jose Mourinho was sacked on December 18, two days after a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over as Manchester United boss until the end of the season (Chris Ison/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over as Manchester United boss until the end of the season (Chris Ison/PA)

By Josh Luckhurst, Press Association Sport

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as Manchester United’s caretaker manager until the end of the season.

The former United striker replaces Jose Mourinho after he was sacked on December 18, two days after a heavy 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Here, we look at how the former Norway international has worked his way up to become the new man to lead the Red Devils.

Baby-faced assassin

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played for Manchester United for 11 years (David Davies/PA)

Solskjaer was a surprise signing by Sir Alex Ferguson in July 1996 after he impressed in his homeland, netting 20 in one season for Molde. He made an instant impression, scoring six minutes into his United debut before registering 18 Premier League goals in his first season at Old Trafford, which led to the Norway striker being dubbed the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ by the media for his youthful looks. Solskjaer scored four goals in 12 minutes as a substitute against Nottingham Forest before entering United folklore for scoring the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich to clinch an historic treble. He remained a key part of United’s teams over the years, however knee injuries plagued the latter part of his career before he hung up his boots in 2007.

Baby steps into management

Solskjaer waved goodbye to his playing career in 2007 and became Manchester United reserves manager in the following year (Dave Thompson/PA)

Solskjaer took over as United’s reserves manager in May 2008 to become the first person to take on the role in a full-time capacity for two years. During his tenure, he was offered the role as Norway national team boss but he turned it down. He remained in the job until January 2011 before returning to his homeland and taking charge of Molde.

Molde-ing into a successful manager

Solskjaer was successful in his first spell at Molde (Martin Rickett/PA)

Solskjaer moved to Molde as first-team manager on a four-year contract in November 2010, but did not officially take over the role until two months later. They initially struggled at the start of his reign but came back to take the Tippeligaen (Norway’s top flight) title in his first campaign. The former striker was approached by Aston Villa six months later, but once again he rejected this role before guiding the club to a second successive league crown. The 2013 season was less successful, however Solskjaer still yielded a Norwegian Cup success to further enhance his managerial reputation.

Cardiff’s Premier League jaunt

Solskjaer was appointed Cardiff boss in January 2014 (PA)

Cardiff made their move for the highly rated manager as they fought against relegation from the Premier League. His reign started in positive fashion, with a 2-1 comeback victory over Newcastle in the FA Cup third round, but just three wins and three draws from 18 league matches saw the Bluebirds immediately return to the Championship and he was sacked in September following a poor start to the campaign.

Return to Molde

Solskjaer has guided Molde to Europa League victories over Celtic and Hibernian in his second spell (Danny Lawson/PA)

Fourteen months after his Cardiff departure, Solskjaer returned to Molde for a second spell in charge on a three-and-a-half-year contract. His impact was immediate, guiding the club to the last 32 of the Europa League after negotiating a difficult group containing Fenerbahce, Ajax and Celtic. They fell to eventual winners Sevilla and finished fifth in the domestic league. Solskjaer helped the club to second place in the 2017 and 2018 season and signed a three-year contract extension on December 3, 2018.

Heir to Sir Alex Ferguson’s throne

Solskjaer, right, will follow in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, left, in taking the Manchester United role on a temporary basis (Owen Humphreys/PA)

On December 19, 2018, the 45-year-old became the second player of Ferguson’s 1999 treble-winning team to take the reins at Old Trafford on a temporary basis. Ryan Giggs was in charge for four matches during the 2013-14 season, following the departure of David Moyes, on an interim player-manager basis. The Welshman won two of those matches before becoming successor Louis Van Gaal’s assistant for the next two seasons. Solksjaer has 21 Premier League games in which to rescue the Red Devils season, with the club 19 points off Premier League leaders Liverpool and 11 behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

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