Football: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named Manchester United caretaker manager, says club 'is in my heart'

Cardiff City's former Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the EPL match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on Jan 28, 2014.
Cardiff City's former Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the EPL match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on Jan 28, 2014.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP, THE GUARDIAN) - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was on Wednesday (Dec 19) named as English Premier League football club Manchester United's caretaker manager until the end of the 2018-19 season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Solskjaer will take charge of the first team with immediate effect and will remain in place while the club looks for a new full-time manager.

"Manchester United is in my heart and it's brilliant to be coming back in this role. I'm really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club," the 45-year-old Norwegian told United's website.

The former United striker will be assisted by Mike Phelan, 56, another of the club's former players, who previously spent 14 years on the club's coaching staff, including five as the No. 2.

Solskjaer takes over following Mourinho's sacking on Tuesday. His first game in charge is Saturday's trip to Cardiff, the club with whom he had his only previous experience of Premier League management.

The Norwegian, who has been managing Molde, took Cardiff down to the Championship in May 2014. On being sacked the following September, his record was 16 defeats from 30 games and five wins, of which three were in the top flight.

Solskjaer is fondly remembered at Old Trafford for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Just over a year ago, he described United as a "dream" job in an interview with United.no, the Manchester United Supporters' Club Scandinavia.

United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said: "Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles. His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back. We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season."

 

Coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna continue on the first-team staff. United are sixth in the Premier League with 26 points, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, and 11 from a Champions League berth.