Saturday 20 April 2019

'It changes nothing' - Rio Ferdinand weighs in on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future after back-to-back defeats

Rio Ferdinand believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has earned the right to be Manchester United's next permanent manager
Rio Ferdinand believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has earned the right to be Manchester United's next permanent manager
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rio Ferdinand has urged the Manchester United board to appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club's next permanent manager, after insisting back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Wolves should not affect his hopes of landing the job on a full-time basis.

Ferdinand, who played alongside Solskjaer during their time together at United, is convinced the Norwegian should be handed the keys of power at Old Trafford on a long-term contract, after reviving the club's fortunes following Jose Mourinho's sacking in December.

A 2-0 defeat at Arsenal was a setback to their hopes of a top four finish, while their FA Cup exit at Wolves on Saturday was another hammer blow to Solskjaer's hopes of winning silverware this season, but Ferdinand is backing him to remain in place for the long-term.

"These two defeats were a setback, but it changes nothing for me," Ferdinand told independent.ie in an exclusive interview at the launch of his new movie 90 Minutes. "He has done more than enough to deserve a chance to have the job and I believe the club have only one decision to make when they appoint their next manager.

"When he came in the door, if someone said to the United owners that they would be knocking on the door of the top four in the Premier League and in the Champions League quarter-finals, they would have jumped at that.

"He won all those games at the beginning and it is inevitable that his team will slip up at some point. Look at where they were when the previous manager left and compare it to the mood around the club now. You have to give a lot of the credit for that revival to Solskjaer and that's why I believe he has to get the job.

"We have tried different managers, tried different philosophies and finally we have gone back to what worked in the past and what will work in the future.

"I just hope the club's owners realise that the way they have run the club and the managerial changes they have made at a rapid rate is not how United works. You need people in charge of the team that understand this club and that is what we have got now.

"Manchester United is not like every other club and people who don't understand that will fail when they go there. The pictures are on the walls to remind you of United's history and in the last few years, the club has moved away from what makes it special.

"Every player who walks through the door at United needs to have a certain DNA and too many have been signed by the club in recent years that lack those qualities.

"It's not just talent, it’s much more than that. Are you good enough to be a United player, do you want it enough, do you understand what it means to wear the shirt and represent the club.

"These United players are right behind him, we can all see that. To have ten players out of that second leg against Paris Saint-Germain and to go to their ground and put in the performance they did to get through as amazing.

"I didn't think United had a chance against PSG when the draw was made and they had an even slimmer chance after losing the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford, but they got through and they did it after producing a top-class performance in Paris.

"That display alone shows why Solskjaer has earned the right to have a chance to be the club's next permanent manager and I'm sure he will get that opportunity."

Rio Ferdinand is executive producer of 90 Minutes, a new movie about grass roots football in London, that will be available on DVD & digital download from 1 April.

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