Ole Gunnar Solskjær has signed a three-year contract after a successful caretaker spell as Manchester United manager; he spoke to UEFA.com about his formative coaching experiences.
On his coaching journey …
“[Sir Alex Ferguson] was like a second dad. I ended up living on the same street as him and his grandkids were in the same class as my kids, so of course I had a fantastic relationship with him over the years. Whatever you asked him about, you got an answer and you sat back and you thought: ‘He really knows his stuff!’
“When I was 27, 28, I thought I would never be a coach, because I just wanted to get away from the limelight, but then I got my injury [a knee problem which eventually led to early retirement] and I sat down and reflected and thought: ‘If I can’t play again, I don’t want to leave this game.’ Then all my 20 years of football madness, craziness, nerdiness, call it what you like, came in and I thought: ‘I’m going to go for this.’
“[Sir Alex] said I was analytical, but that was just one or two defenders you’re playing against. I thought I knew everything about football, and then you become a coach and you need to know every single thing about every single position.
“[The United way is] about taking the game to the opposition, always believing in yourself. If you asked other managers who played against Sir Alex’s teams, the pace and the tempo going forward was key. And, of course, the belief, the surge, that last 15 to 20 minutes towards the Stretford End – it was almost like the ball was just sucked into the goal.”
On the UEFA Champions League …
“The biggest nights of my career have been Champions League nights, so of course when you get to this stage of the tournament, with the floodlights on, these are the games that you really look forward to. When the anthem [sounds out] across the stadium, [when] you walk in: it’s one of those special, special times at Old Trafford.”