On Wednesday, Manchester United announced that former striker and current Molde FK manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be taking over the reins at Old Trafford for the remainder of the season.
Solskjaer will take over from the recently departed Jose Mourinho who spent two and a half years in charge of United, with the decision receiving a mixed reception from many in the footballing world.
The Norwegian’s time at Cardiff, which was a decidedly poor spell, is the one that is so often cited when discussing his managerial chops but for the last four years, Solskjaer has been honing his craft with his native Molde in the Eliteserien. A massive jump no question.
Such has been the magnitude of the jump it’s easy to forget how much of a step up the role truly is.
Especially when you consider that less than six months ago, Solskjaer was in charge of a Molde side that were defeated by Irish League outfit Glenavon at Mourneview Park in Lurgan in the Europa League.
“I remember most of the game to be honest with you”, Glenavon midfielder Rhys Marshall, who starred in the famous victory told Pundit Arena.
“It’s probably one of the best results in Glenavon’s history given the magnitude of the match and the size of the team.”
The Lurgan Blues stood toe to toe with Solskjaer’s Molde and despite being the heavy underdogs, defeated the Norwegian side by 2-1 taking a victory back for the away leg.
Marshall missed the second game and Molde subsequently won by 5-1 but as someone who’s played against a Solksjaer side, the 23-year old outlined the characteristics of his style of management.
“They passed it about.
“It was definitely possession based. I wasn’t there for the second leg but at Mourneview Park they passed the ball but they didn’t pass it fast enough to break us down, they were quite slow and lethargic in their passing which we coped with well.
“As far as I know, in the second leg that was a whole different story, they kept the ball and passed it and broke us down over there. His Molde team were definitely possession based, whether that’s the way they play in Norway or not I’m not too sure but I’d say at United he’ll be looking for a bit more excitement.”
Following his difficult but brief spell at Cardiff City in the Premier League, it’s difficult to know what to expect from Solskjaer in his tenure at Old Trafford.
Marshall explains that from first hand experience he feels as though the striker will look to certainly add some excitement to a worringly lacklustre United side.
“As I said I think he’ll be looking to bring some excitement to the side. With the Molde team he had a couple of wee playmakers, he let them do they what they wanted, he let them roam about and create plays.
“I think he’ll do that at United he’ll set his team up with a couple of playmakers and let them go and play. That’s probably one of the things Mourinho didn’t do, with his style the players couldn’t really express themselves.
“I think that’s what he’ll be looking to do. He played under Ferguson so he’ll know that the fans want to be excited.”
Such was Marshall’s influence on the victory, Solskjaer actually singled him out for praise post-match. Something the young midfielder outlined was fantastic as the Norwegian begins life as the new Manchester United manager.
“Yeah I think there was an article put up the next day or after the match where Solskjaer mentioned me, he mentioned Mark Sykes, Josh Daniels as well, he mentioned a couple of us. That was great to get the recognition off a man like Solskjaer, but the whole team played well on that day. He mentioned the players that changed the game. “
The man Solskjaer replaces, Jose Mourinho was known for being one of the more vocal managers both on the sidelines and in front of the media. But will Solskjaer be the same?
“It’s hard to notice when you’re playing but from what I remember he was quiet enough on the sidelines,” said Marshall.
“Sometimes you get managers who are out shouting and you notice that, but I didn’t really notice that from Solskjaer so I’ll take it from that he was quiet enough. I don’t know him but I think that’s just the way he is. “