New Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it is “like coming home” as he starts his temporary tenure as the Red Devils’ boss, he told the club’s MUTV channel on Thursday.
Solskjaer, 45, made more than 360 appearances in 11 years for United and scored a dramatic Champions League winner in 1999 to seal a historic treble.
“It feels like coming home. It’s been a few whirlwind days, very hectic,” he said in his first interview since taking over from Jose Mourinho.
United called time on Mourinho’s two-and-a-half years at the club on Tuesday, with the club languishing sixth in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Solskjaer will be at the helm at Old Trafford until the end of the season, when the club will appoint a full-time successor.
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is the current front-runner.
“It’s six months, I’m going to enjoy the ride. It’s about being myself. The club’s running a process to find the next manager so I’m just going to be myself in the meantime,” he added.
The Norwegian said all the right things throughout his first official interview, and it is clear his passion for the club is still as strong as ever.
“Man United is the model, family, tradition, history, giving youth a chance, attacking football and winning. Biggest club in the world, best club in the world, best supporters in the world, we’ve got the best players in the world.”
Mike Phelan returns to the club alongside Solskjaer, with many believing letting him go was David Moyes’ first mistake as manager. Solskjaer chose the club legend as his assistant because he feels Phelan has a calming influence on him.
“First thing I thought about, I want some experience with me. I rang Mick but he was doing a coaching course in Burnley. He’s been here, done it all. He’s an incredible calming influence around me. His football knowledge is really really good.
When it comes to his own managerial style, the legendary striker feels he has learnt from the best in Alex Ferguson and believes that the opportunity he has been granted is very special.
“It’s about man management, getting the best out of everyone. I had the best teacher (Sir Alex). Loads of my management revolves around what I learned from him.He’s been the biggest influence.”
“I understand this club, I know the club. Being in the gaffer’s seat is very special.”
Solskjaer returns to the club having already cut his managerial teeth with United’s reserves where he came across three of the sides current stars in their youth.
“I remember I gave Jesse his debut in the reserves. I had Paul, he was that special talent. Marcus we knew about. He was just on his way up. They’re the three that I’ve seen from them being kids. It’s great to see them playing now as well as they’re doing.”
He will take charge of his first match on Saturday against Cardiff, where he spent an unhappy spell as manager in 2014.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edit by Michael Corry)