Solskjaer: It’s Brilliant to Be Back to Old Trafford

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer excited by return to Old Trafford

Manchester United have named former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager until the end of the season, a day after sacking Jose Mourinho.

Solskjaer spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final.

The 45-year-old takes over with United sixth in the Premier League.

“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” said the Norwegian.

“This is an opportunity I had to take.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club.”

Solskjaer, who earlier this month signed a new deal as manager of Norwegian club Molde, will be joined by Mike Phelan, who returns as first-team coach having previously worked alongside Sir Alex Ferguson.

Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, both part of Mourinho’s coaching staff, will continue to work under Solskjaer.

Solskjaer’s first match in charge will be against Cardiff – where he endured an ill-fated spell as manager – on Saturday.

He was relegated from the Premier League with the Bluebirds during an eight-month spell as manager in 2014, then sacked after a poor start to the Championship campaign.

United will look to appoint a permanent boss at the end of the season.

“Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles,” said Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman.

“His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back.

“We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”

The club appeared to inadvertently announce his arrival 12 hours earlier, when a video featuring Solskjaer scoring the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999 was briefly on their official website.

It led to Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg welcomed Solskjaer’s appointment on social media, writing: “Great day for Norwegian football. Good luck keeping control of the Red Devils.” She later deleted the tweet.

Molde’s 2018 season has finished for the winter and does not restart until March.

United’s statement announcing Solskjaer’s arrival as caretaker manager made no mention of whether or not he will return to Molde when the Premier League season ends.

But the Norwegian club stressed they were only “lending” Solskjaer to United, indicating they expect him to return to his previous role.

“This is a big opportunity for Molde FK, we think it will be developing and helping to put Molde further on the football card,” Oystein Neerland, the club’s chief executive officer, said.

Solskjaer is in his second spell as Molde manager after returning to the club, little over a year after he was sacked by Cardiff, in October 2015.

In his first spell, Solskjaer led the club to their first Norwegian title in 2011, going on to retain the trophy in the following season.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has said that his career at the club is now a closed chapter following his sacking as manager a day earlier, but the Portuguese confirmed he would return to management.
“Manchester United has a future without me and I have a future without United,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Why should I be sharing more now, even with the supporters, any of my feelings? It’s over. That’s the way I’ve always been.

“I’ve been critical of managers that leave clubs and speak about what’s happened and who’s to blame. That’s not me. I just want to finish like it happened yesterday and I’d like to say it’s game over. I hope you media respect this way for me to be.

“Until I get back to football I have my right to live my normal life. That’s what I want to do. United is the past.”

Mourinho, who replaced Dutchman Louis van Gaal in May 2016, won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season.

He then guided United to second place in the Premier League and the FA Cup final, where they were beaten by Chelsea, in his second.

Yet his third season was riddled with problems both on and off the pitch, including the breakdown of his relationship with record signing Paul Pogba, before United pulled the plug with the team sitting sixth in the league.

Mourinho’s final game in charge was a 3-1 defeat at bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday.