Friday 23 August 2019

Solskjaer’s helping bring back Manchester United’s DNA – Blomqvist

Blomqvist did not imagine his fellow Scandinavian would move into management when sharing a dressing room 20 years ago.

Jesper Blomqvist will play in the Treble Reunion match next month (Simon Peach/PA)
Jesper Blomqvist will play in the Treble Reunion match next month (Simon Peach/PA)

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Jesper Blomqvist believes fellow treble winner Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is helping to bring back Manchester United’s DNA.

While United are currently on a run of four defeats in five matches in all competitions, the overall upturn in fortunes under the Norwegian fan favourite remains striking.

Solskjaer was rewarded with the permanent managerial post last month having proven a breath of fresh air since Jose Mourinho’s sacking, with fans, staff and some current players comparing the feeling around the camp to that during Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful era.

Blomqvist did not imagine his fellow Scandinavian would move into management when sharing a dressing room 20 years ago, but the ex-United winger can see his former team-mate fostering the kind of atmosphere seen under Ferguson.

“I see myself more as a supporter now, a fan,” the former Sweden international told Press Association Sport.

“But it is coming back more to the DNA of United, how it was for almost 25 years. I mean, this is how I look at it.

“But you can win games, you can lose games, but as long as you try and really go for it and want to win the game and you show that on pitch, then you can lose a game.

“You can, of course, feel sorry that you lost but you are happy with the way you try to win it.

“That feeling for me is back.

“We’re going to lose more games, of course, during this season, but as long as you really try to win them, and then in the way try to attack.

“And also the other thing is about putting the faith in the youth again and really making them believe that it’s possible to become a regular Man United player.”

Solskjaer is not only giving young players an opportunity at United but helping more experienced options to improve, such as centre-back Victor Lindelof.

While there had already been shoots of recovery after a difficult first season, the Sweden international has kicked on under Solskjaer to the point where he is one of the first names on the team sheet.

“I made an interview when he signed and I said you have to give him a little bit of time,” Blomqvist said of compatriot Lindelof.

“But he has especially what I think is the mental strength to really become a great player. And that is the most important thing.

“Then he also has other attributes that I think will fit at United for a central defender: he is very confident with the ball and he is very fast as well, and strong one-against-one.

“I think he’s shown all that now and the more he plays now, the stronger and better he will be, and more confident he will get.

“The way he has been playing and improving this season has been fantastic and I’ve been really proud as a Swede to see him play for United.

“I think he has been absolutely brilliant.”

Blomqvist was speaking ahead of the Treble Reunion on May 26 at Old Trafford, where he will play for Manchester United Legends against Bayern Munich Legends.

Ferguson will be back in the dugout 20 years on from the last-gasp Champions League final win, with the match raising money for the Manchester United Foundation and its work with young people across Greater Manchester.

“I am definitely looking forward to it,” Blomqvist, who started that night at the Nou Camp, said.

“I think it’s two good causes in one.

“We’ll enjoy it and we’re going to enjoy seeing each other again, and talk and everything, play the game, but also that we can gather money for this great cause, so it’s good.

“Regarding me, I am also worried. I have been having cold now for like eight weeks. I haven’t been able to start to train yet.

“I am really getting stressed now because I like to have my pre-season done, so I am getting worried as well!”

:: Tickets for the Treble Reunion game are on sale now from £19.99 for adults and just £10 for under 16s. Hospitality packages are available from £99. For more information please visit: www.manutd.com/treblereunion

PA Media

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport