The dismissal of Jose Mourinho was immediately followed up with the entry of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a caretaker until the end of the season. For senior fans, this name may be somewhat familiar but also vague. Meanwhile, as the young fans, the question of who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is, will surely arise.
As an opening, we can say he is a Manchester United striker since 1996 until retiring in 2007. In his period of stay at Old Trafford, he scored 126 goals in total. With an 11-year term, that number is not an extraordinary number. He is remembered not for his sharpness like Ruud van Nistelrooy or Wayne Rooney.
He was loved by Manchester because of his ability to appear at crucial moments to score important goals. This ability was very much realized by Sir Alex Ferguson so that he was often being kept on the bench as a secret weapon in the last minute.
Overall, he scored 17 goals as a substitute player only in the Premier League. This number is a league record before being surpassed by Jermain Defoe in the last season.
Perhaps, the most beautiful moment for the super sub was when he scored United’s winning goal in the final of 1998/99 Champions League. At that time, Bayern Munich was winning at the score 1-0 until the normal time ended. Through a corner kick, Teddy Sheringham equalized the score in the first minute of additional time. But United struck after the start, and get a corner kick again. Right at minute 93, Solskjaer managed to turn things around with a goal that made Manchester United won the first title of Champions League in the era of Alex Ferguson.
Another thing is that his ability to kill a match with a crucial goal which coupled with his cute look, made him got the nickname as a Baby Faced Killer.
The baby has retired at the age of 34 in 2007. In the following season, he immediately helped Sir Alex Ferguson in the capacity of the strikers’ coach for the main team. A year after, he began to carry out as a coach for the substitute team. For two and a half seasons on the satellite team, he won the Lancashire Senior Cup and Manchester Senior Cup in 2009, then won the Reserve Premier League in 2010.
His coaching career in the main team has begun since his first professional team. Norwegian League club, Molde, appointed him as a coach in 2011. He won two league titles in the first two seasons. A phenomenal achievement considering Molde had never won a league before. His reputation as a coach climbed so that the offer to train Aston Villa came in 2012. However, he chose to stay in his hometown, even though in his third season he was only able to bring Molde to the rank six.
On January 2014, a call came again from England. This time, the call came from Cardiff City, the club which at that time wanted to stay away from the threat of degradation. When Cardiff fired Malky Mackay and appointed Solskjaer, they were in 17th position. Unfortunately, cold hands Solskjaer did not work in this struggling club. Cardiff is being degraded with the status of the club’s key. He got fired after Cardiff remained sluggish in the seventh match of the 2014/15 season.
In 2016, he admitted that he was not ready to navigate the degradation zone in such a league in the level of a Premier League. His policy of bringing three Norwegian players (Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Moller Daehli, and Jo Inge Berget) smelled more of nepotism than trying to increase the team level.
Since Cardiff was fired, he returned to Molde. He hasn’t managed to reach the league title again. But at least Molde recorded the runner-up position in two consecutive seasons.
So, he has training experience in the top league. As a former striker, he had the striker thoughts in the team he trained. Of course, he will bring a different approach than Mourinho, who is very defensive.
His first assignment is of course to improve the team’s dressing room situation which was already damaged as Mourinho did not manage his players well. The star players with expensive prices and salaries such as Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez should be able to contribute more.
He was destined to directly face Cardiff in his first match as the United substitute. Along with three assistants namely Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick, and Kieran McKenna, let’s hope Solskjaer can kill many matches until the season ends …