Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the two big changes he made soon after being appointed Manchester United boss and admits he did not expect to be handed the reins on a permanent basis.
United drafted in their former super sub in the aftermath of the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December 2018.
United were sitting in sixth place, 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool when they decided to axe the Portuguese boss. It cost the Old Trafford club around £18m.
Solskjaer was quickly brought in to take temporary charge after an agreement with Solskjaer’s employers at the time Molde.
The Norwegian’s time has not been plane sailing. But after guiding United into the Champions League last season the 48-year-old looks set to repeat the feat again this season.
Solskjaer has written a chapter of a new book, co-authored by Dundee United boss Micky Mellon, in which he details his early time at the club.
“We came in just before Christmas,” Solskjaer wrote, as cited by the Daily Mail. “I suppose it was like coming in on loan… it wasn’t like: ‘Come in and change the club and put your stamp on it.’
“It was come in, you know the club. You know the expectations, make them smile, play attacking football and give youth a chance.”
The book, which will see all proceeds donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association is called ‘The First 100 Days: Lessons In Leadership From The Football Bosses’ and launches next Thursday.
United officials did not wait long to make Solskjaer’s position permanent. After a upturn in results and Champions League comeback against PSG he was appointed Mourinho’s permanent successor in March 2019.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: League position defines progress - not trophies
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says league position defines progress rather than whether trophies are won.
“[On day one] we talked about high expectations, having some fun and even surprising a few people,” Solskjaer wrote.
“Later that day I remember walking about and hearing people saying: ‘Finally, we’re talking about being Manchester United again.’
“That night was the staff do. I went along, made a bit of speech and had a bit of a dance!
Solskjaer ran first team past Fergie
“Before our first game at Cardiff, I got a text from the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] who said, ‘pick your team and sleep well’. I sent him the players I was picking and I just got a message back: ‘That’ll do the job.'”
Solskjaer thinks United’s progress that year was prompted by a change of approach. United went to Dubai for a winter break, giving Solskjaer time to work on United’s style of play.
“We made two big changes,” he wrote.
“The first one was our system for the game against Tottenham. The second big thing was to bring back the [pre-match] suits: those Tottenham players looked at them and thought, ‘I want to play for Manchester United’.”