Solskjaer: The job I have always dreamed of
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said it is an honour to be made permanent Manchester United manager.
Firstly Ole, how does it feel to become the permanent manager of this great club?
“It’s truly an honour. I think everyone knows, and I’ve spoken about it in the last few months, that this is the dream job for any football-interested man, especially anyone who has been involved with Man United. Being given the opportunity now to move the club forward, with all the potential there is, it’s fantastic.”
You’ve had great backing from our amazing fans, how does that feel?
“I’ve always had it but I have to say the last few months have been absolutely crazy with the way they’ve taken to the players, to me and to the coaching staff. We’ve really appreciated that support and hopefully we can pay them back now.”
How much does it help to know that all the staff from the very top of the club are right behind you?
“It’s great of course. It’s been three fantastic months and the support I’ve had here since the day I walked in with Kath [Phipps, Aon Training Complex receptionist] to the chats I’ve had with Ed [Woodward], the owners and the staff in and around the place has been great. It’s nice to pay back the belief they’ve shown in me. We’ve had some good performances and an upturn, and the support has been from Joel and Avie [Glazer] and the Glazer family to Ed and to the players and staff. It’s just been three great months and I hope to pay everyone back.”
“It’s a team effort. This is not just about the manager, it’s about the coaching team and what we’ve done together with the players and the staff at Carrington and the supporters. I have to say I love coming into work with the staff we’ve got here.”
You were here as a player and enjoyed huge success, how much would you now love to replicate that as manager?
“That’s the demand there is at Man United – that success, always striving to improve and winning trophies. That’s now another challenge for us and we want to be up there challenging every season from now on.”
How excited are you to face those challenges?
“I wouldn’t have said yes if I wasn’t looking forward to it and if I didn’t believe in the club and in the potential and in what we’re doing. I feel, and I hope, that I can do this job justice, that’s the first thing I asked myself when I got the call a few months back and hopefully now I can improve on it.”
You can now start planning with a busy pre-season and a summer transfer window to come. How excited are you for these opportunities that are ahead?
“Very excited of course. Every day is a challenge and a test. We’ve got Watford on Saturday and then Wolves, the best two of the rest if you like, in seventh and eighth position, so in the short term that’s my priority, then we’ve got other big games coming up. Then we have the summer window and the chance to improve the squad, and we’re talking to the players about how we want them to approach next season when they come back. Obviously I’d been discussing with Ed and the club my ideas for the future and now they're more or less my decisions to make.”
“Yes but I’m looking forward to it. If you don’t look forward to working for this club then that’s wrong; I can’t wait. I’ve spoken before about how I’ve prepared more or less my whole adult life, at least certainly since I got my injury, to be a manager somewhere and I have always been stupid enough or naïve enough or daft enough to dream about this job.”
How proud and excited are your family about what lies ahead?
“Well we’ve really enjoyed the last eight years living in Norway and leaving there of course is going to be a change for them but we’re looking forward to it. We agreed I would do these three months separately, well the six months that the club initially asked me to come over for, but that’s gone now and we’ll all move here together. I started building a house here in 2007 and finally in 2019 we can move into it – that’s some long-term planning! [Laughs]”
Presumably it’ll be nice to not be asked in press conferences about your long-term future now…
“That will be a nice change. [Smiles] But then again you get criticised and you get praised every day and every week. As I said before every day it’s a test and it’s not like this is going to be a sleeping pillow, this is going to be an extra boost of energy for me to do more for the club.”
Finally, how proud do you feel to no longer be the caretaker manager and now have the position which every person in the football world would like?
“Of course that word ‘caretaker’ in front of manager didn’t really sit right with me. I’ve enjoyed it so far and I’m going to continue to enjoy it until it’s over, that’s still my mantra. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”