Monday 23 September 2019

Gary Neville outlines realistic targets for interim Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Gary Neville is among the former team-mates to back Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker manager at Manchester United (Nick Potts/PA)
Gary Neville is among the former team-mates to back Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker manager at Manchester United (Nick Potts/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville believes Manchetser United have installed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club's interim manager until the end of the season in a attempt to 'take the angst away from everyone' following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Solskjaer has filled the void left by Mourinho after his departure last Tuesday and Neville believes his former United team-mate will bring a positive vibe back to the club after a turbulent few months under Mourinho's watch.

A string of senior United players were reported to have objected to Mourinho's confrontational style of management and Neville told Sky Sports the arrival of the affable Solskjaer is a clear attempt by the club to reset the mood in the dressing roon.

"The statement from the club this week was that they wanted to settle the place down and take the angst away from everybody," said Neville. "It has been an unhappy place for the last three months. That isn't just the fault of Jose Mourinho, ultimately it's been going wrong from the start of the season."

When asked to assess Solskjaer's aims in his brief stint as United manager, Neville suggested the primary target was clear.

"Firstly it's getting the club into the Champions League, that is ultimately what he has to try and do, and if they can get a trophy that would be amazing," he stated.

"But I think the bigger job is helping the club assess the players in the dressing room, those players, some of whom have hidden behind Jose Mourinho in the last 6-12 months. In the next six months when the excuses are gone, it's about are they good enough and which are good enough to come on the journey with the new manager next season.

"That's a big part of what Ole can do - feed into the board. It also allows the club time to reset.

"There are different ways to measure success. On the pitch it's Champions League but off the pitch making sure the club are set up ready for next season to be reset on and off the pitch.

"It was obvious they wanted a bridge to get the club to the end of the season, someone who could attach themselves to the players and the fans and the values of the club.

"Ole is so popular, he is probably one of the most popular players that have been at Manchester United in terms of what he achieved, the goal in '99, he's a gentleman and a good person and has immersed himself in coaching. When he finished playing he became a reserve team coach at United and wanted to learn the ropes."

Neville also suggested Solskjaer had limited chances of landed the role on a permanent basis, amid widespread reports the club intend to try and lure Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to Old Trafford next summer.

"I think it's a temporary appointment before they get the man they want for the long term," he added.

"If he won the Champions League, it's inconceivable that he would be told to step down and I don't think Manchester United would do that. But I don't think Manchester United are good enough to win the Champions League.

"To get into the top four would be a fantastic achievement, but I do think they have done this to get the man they want at the end of the season, who is obviously not available now."

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