United appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjær: what’s his story?

“From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjær following his appointment as Manchester United manager on a three-year deal. Solskjær has been in caretaker charge since December and has subsequently won 14 of his 19 games at the helm, guiding United into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in the process.

“This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long-term and hopefully deliver the continued success that our amazing fans deserve.”

UEFA.com looks at why the former United striker was so highly regarded at Old Trafford even before his time in the dugout.

UEFA Champions League record (all for Manchester United)

Appearances: 77 (1996–2007)

Solskjær's top UEFA Champions League moments

Sixth on list of UEFA Champions League appearances for United after Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney. Level with David Beckham.

Goals: 19

United’s fourth highest UEFA Champions League scorer after Rooney, Giggs and Scholes.

Best performance: winner (Manchester United, 1999)

If you don’t remember him as a player …

It is no coincidence that Solskjær’s time at Old Trafford brought unprecedented success for United. Over the course of 366 games the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ weighed in with 126 goals, often decisive and often from the bench, earning the forward a reputation as reviver of lost causes.

1999 final highlights

None of his finishes was more famous than the prod that completed United’s remarkable comeback in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern, a divine intervention from the man described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “the substitute from hell”.

Knee injuries forced Solskjær, who once scored four in 12 minutes after coming on against Nottingham Forest, to hang up his boots in 2007. The Norwegian international had a few months earlier wrapped up a sixth Premier League title.

What happened next

Under Sir Alex’s gaze, Solskjær took over United’s reserves in 2008, impressing enough to be offered the Norway national-team job the next year. He politely declined, reasoning that it was not the right time.

Solskjær did return to Norway in 2011, leading a Molde side that had never won the Tippeligaen to titles in his first two seasons, followed by a domestic cup in 2013. A spell in the Premier League followed at Cardiff, but Solskjær was unable to avoid relegation.

Solskjær on the United way

Following a year off, he rejoined Molde, steering them through their 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group, a campaign including home and away wins against Celtic, before bowing out to Sevilla in the round of 32. His Molde team were runners-up in the league in 2017 and 2018. United came calling in December last year after parting company with José Mourinho.

What they say

“More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club. This all means that he is the right person to take Manchester United forward.”
Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice chairman

“Ole was absolutely ridiculous from the bench. He was a connoisseur of the game and he used to watch from the bench to see how he could hurt people. He picked out weaknesses to exploit.”
Andrew Cole, former team-mate

“Ole’s at the wheel, Tell me how good does it feel, We’ve got Sánchez, Paul Pogba and Fred, Marcus Rashford he’s a Manc born and bred, Du, du, du du, du, du, du du du (repeat), The Greatest of English football, We’ve won it all …”
Old Trafford song

“You are Solskjær, my Ole Solskjær, you make me happy when skies are grey.”
Old Trafford song

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