Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have a friendly demeanour but he also has an 'edge', according to his former team-mate Ryan Giggs.
Solskjaer has turned the team's fortunes around over the last week, starting with an encouraging 5-1 drubbing of Cardiff City in South Wales, before building on that victory with Boxing Day's 3-1 defeat of Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.
Giggs, who of course had his own spell as United's caretaker boss back in 2014, is not surprised to see Ole doing a great job so far, given what he knows about the Norwegian's character.
“Even though everyone thinks he is a nice guy, he has [also] got an edge to him and you need that as a manager,” Ryan told MUTV after the Huddersfield game.
“I believed he would go into coaching. [As a player] he was always quietly confident and he believed in his own ability.
“As he gained more experience, and especially when he got that injury and had a bit of time out, it was quite well documented how he used to take notes on what Sir Alex [Ferguson] used to do.
“Ole is doing a great job. It's not always easy to follow up the positivity [of the Cardiff game], but I thought the lads did great today, in what was not an easy game at times.”
Commenting on the win against Huddersfield and the positive mood at the club over Christmas, Giggs says the key players are stepping up and making a difference.
“With it being Ole’s first home game, and especially given the positivity that came from the Cardiff performance and the result, I think everyone was looking forward to the game,” he continued.
“The big players are turning up. [Paul] Pogba with the goals, David [De Gea] with a great save and Marcus [Rashford] is just getting better and better with each game. So there is a real positivity around the place and we need to carry that on now going into the Bournemouth game.”
Giggs: Ole is much tougher than he looks!Video
With Arsenal and Chelsea both dropping Premier League points in the last five days, and United's past habit of surging in the second halves of seasons, Giggs believes a top-four place is certainly still achievable for the Reds in 2019.
“It's a tough league but there are a lot of games to come, and we've seen what can happen in football with Manchester City and Liverpool [swapping places],” said Ryan.
“We used to do it [as players], we could have been 10 or 12 points behind, but we chased down those leads at times. As long as it is mathematical[ly possible], and you probably need to beat your rivals as well, [then there is a chance].
“We need a good run of games. Getting our confidence up going into that Tottenham game [on 13 January] will be important as well.”
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Solskjaer's verdict on Boxing Day victory article
Ole believes David De Gea's second-half save was the turning point in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield.