The king is dead, long live the king.
As odd as these words would have seemed to write just a couple of days ago, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the new Manchester United manager. For now at least.
The interim boss has been put in place following the fairly brutal sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday, when the axe fell on the Portuguese as his two-and-a-half year spell at Old Trafford came to an end.
United are 19 points off top spot in the table and 11 away from the Champions League places, and so club legend Solskjaer has a huge task on his hands.
But his love for the club has never been in doubt, as was evidenced in a 2017 interview with United’s Official Norwegian Supporters’ Club.
His words – kindly translated for us by Jonathan Aglen – give an insight into how he views some United players, and how he thinks they should be playing.
The full interview is here , but read on for the five key points.
1. The goosebumps
It was put to Solskjaer if he still dreamed of becoming United manager despite his disastrous Premier League experience at Cardiff City in 2014.
He was unequivocal.
“Yes, I have to be honest,” he said. “Now I get goosebumps.
“Obviously it’s a dream. You never know the way your career takes.
“If I’m doing well with Molde here for five years, then there may be coincidences.
“That dream I must be allowed to have, even though it is quite far fetched now.”
2. His favourite United player?
Although this wasn’t the direct question, Solskjaer ended up telling the interviewer who he liked in the United squad, and he picked out one player for a special mention.
“One of my favourite players is of course Marcus Rashford,” he said.
3. Attacking football
United fans want to see the club playing attacking football after their years of playing stale stuff under Mourinho, and Solskjaer’s questioning of the way the Portuguese approached big away games would surely be music to their ears.
“Why are we going to Stamford Bridge or Anfield and entertain 50,000 fans from the opponents (by sitting back)?” he said.
“At Old Trafford we should entertain.”
4. Can Lukaku be a success?
The issue of Romelu Lukaku became a live one in the closing months of Mouirnho’s time in charge, as poor form and notably poor control of the ball became increasingly apparent.
Views can change in 13 months, but back in November last year Solskjaer was a fan.
“Lukaku seems like the right one for Manchester United,” he said.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer perfect to give Man Utd their swagger back says Molde chief
5. Pogba’s importance
The removal of Mourinho is seen by many as the perfect chance for Paul Pogba to flourish, and Solskjaer is clearly a fan.
He was asked what he sees the Frenchman’s best qualities to be.
“Personality, labour, creativity,” he said.
“He has become amazing. Strikes wonderful long passes.”