Solskjaer named Manchester United’s interim boss

Gunnar Solskjaer – Caretaker position

Gunnar Solskjaer – Caretaker position

MANCHESTER United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward believes the club’s new interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will “unite the players and fans.”

The Old Trafford legend, 45, replaces Jose Mourinho on a short-term deal until the end of the season, after the Portuguese boss was sacked on Tuesday morning.

Solskjaer, who has left his role as head coach of Norwegian side Molde, scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United during 11 seasons at the club.

He will be joined by Mike Phelan as first-team coach, also working alongside Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna.

Solskjaer and Phelan arrived at United’s Carrington training complex yesterday afternoon to meet the squad and staff for the first time.

His first match in charge will be on Saturday against Cardiff, whom he had an unsuccessful spell in charge of between January and September in 2014.

“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role. I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club,” said Solskjaer.

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

“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 accidentally confirm the appointment on Tuesday evening, when videos on their official website included taglines naming the Norwegian as their temporary boss.

After retiring, the Norwegian was appointed as United’s reserve-team boss before joining Molde as manager in 2010.

After their visit to Cardiff this Saturday, United have winnable fixtures against Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth and Newcastle United over the festive period.

Ultimately, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane are among the bookmakers’ favourites expected to take the United job at the end of the season.

Pochettino is yet to win a trophy with Tottenham but he could be the man to galvanise United, with Ferguson’s former assistant coach Rene Meulensteen saying his old club have lost their identity.

“You hear people talking about how United have lost their identity and that’s what you see among the players. There is no really clear direction,” Meulensteen told the BBC.

Zidane, 46, has impeccable credentials, which would ensure he would be respected by a United squad that grew sick of Mourinho’s relentless hard-nosed approach.

One of the finest players of his generation with Juventus, Real Madrid and France, Zidane pulled off the tricky task of making the transition to the dug-out.

In just three years as Madrid boss, he won three Champions League titles and one La Liga crown before surprisingly leaving at the end of last season. – MailOnline

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