Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Profile of Manchester United’s interim manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been confirmed as Manchester United’s interim manager in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking.

The Norwegian will join a select group of men who have coached the English giants but what has earned him this shot?

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Manchester United’s new interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

talkSPORT.com takes a look at the man who will become their 26th manager ever and only their third ever caretaker boss.

Barely anyone outside Norway had heard of the Molde striker when he cropped up at Old Trafford.

At the Norwegian club, boss Age Hareide claimed his balance was so good he could have played in a suit and Man United scout Jim Ryan, while on a mission to check out Ronny Johnsen, told Sir Alex Ferguson the baby-faced assassin was worth a shot at £1.5million as one for the future.

In the end the fearless forward’s impact was instant with 18 Premier League goals in his first campaign.

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Solskjaer in European action during his debut campaign.

Game time did diminish for the 67-cap Norway ace but this is what helped mould him into a highly-rated manager.

His scoring abilities as a super-sub are the stuff of legend, especially with his famous 12-minute rampage against Nottingham Forest in 1998/99 as he netted four goals in an 8-1 victory.

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Solskjaer celebrates scoring for Manchester United.

But his time on the bench wasn’t spent getting splinters, as he told Josimar magazine.

Solskjaer would watch the match intently and study his opponents should he have the chance to get on the pitch.

“I probably didn’t analyse the whole game. I had to think about myself, how can I do the most damage for the opposition if I come on? I sat there and I studied football games but I didn’t exactly analyse their strikers. Thierry Henry could do whatever he wanted as far as I was concerned, that was Jaap Stam’s problem. Instead I would pay attention to what the defenders and full-backs were doing wrong.”

The goals flowed throughout his time in Manchester and he ended with a haul of 126 goals in 366 appearances across all competitions and his most memorable came in 1999 Champions League final when he prodded home the stoppage time winner following Teddy Sheringham’s leveller at the Camp Nou, completing the club’s stunning Treble win.

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Manchester United players celebrate their Champions League win in 1999.

After some leaner seasons in 1999/2000 and 2000/01 when he managed 15 and 13 goals in all competitions, he proved he wasn’t just super-sub with a brilliant 25-strike campaign in 2001/02 alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy, with the pair netting 40 goals between them in the Premier League.

But, from there, the injuries told and despite 57 appearances in 2002/03, he would only make another 56 in the next four years before he called time on his career in 2007.

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Solskjaer served Manchester United as a player for 11 seasons.

Solskjaer was awarded a testimonial by the club for his incredible service across 11 seasons and Man United supporters showed their love for the baby-faced assassin with 69,000 fans turning up – making it the second most-attended testimonial in British history at that point, according to The Times.

Off the pitch he was rewarded too and in 2008 was awarded with the First Class Knighthood of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav by King Harald V of Norway. Solskjaer, 35, at the time is the youngest ever recipient of the knighthood.

United’s new interim boss took his first steps into coaching after his retirement, working with the club’s strikers before being appointed manager of their reserves in 2008.

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Solskajer is awarded a print of his famous Champions League celebration by Sir Alex Ferguson.

During his tenure, he won the Lancashire Senior Cup, the Manchester Senior Cup, the Premier Reserve League North, and the Premier Reserve League before accepting a job at former club Molde in December 2010, ending his time at Old Trafford.

His time back in Norway was relatively successful with Tippeligaen wins in 2011 and 2012 before he jumped shipped to Cardiff City in 2014.

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Things didn’t go too well at Cardiff City.

It didn’t end too well, however, and after failing to halt their relegation from the Premier League a disappointing start to the Bluebirds’ Championship return in 2014/15 which saw them lose three of their first seven matches in the second tier.

Another Molde return cropped up just one month later and he guided them to top spot in their Europa League group ahead of Fenerbahce, Ajax, and Celtic, but they lost valiantly to Sevilla in the last-32, despite winning the second leg.
He second spell hasn’t seen any silverware yet but the club has finished second in the last two seasons.

Now he’s got to stop the rot at Manchester United and steady the ship for the man who will eventually be Jose Mourinho’s permanent replacement.

Solskjaer will take charge of his first match as caretaker manager on Saturday evening, against former club Cardiff. talkSPORT will bring you full commentary of the clash LIVE from Wales, kick-off 5:30pm.

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