Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that he would like to stay on as Manchester United manager after the end of this season.
The 45-year-old reiterated at his first press conference after his return to the club that he was only in charge on a caretaker basis but added: “There are so many managers who would love to be manager of Manchester United, I’m one of them.”
Solskjaer added that he had not spoken to the United hierarchy about the prospect of staying on should things work out. A deal has not been agreed should United decide to retain him but it is unlikely to be an issue with his present club, Molde. “It’s not something we’ve talked about, they’ll do a process for the next six months,” he said.
It is understood that United fully intend to try and appoint Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino and are not fazed by the prospect of paying compensation which could run as high as £42million. However it remains to be seen whether he will join.
In the meantime Solskjaer, the former striker, has been ‘loaned’ from the Norwegian club and said he had no doubts when he was asked to come to United on a temporary basis following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
“It’s until the summer now, five or six months to just help out in the meantime while the club does the process to get the next manager,” Solskjaer said.
“When you get a job like this (caretaker) and they ask you to sign for six months you say yeah, I’m happy to help out and my job is to do as well as I can.”
Solskjaer has already spoken to the players having taken his first training session on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Premier League fixture away to Cardiff City.
“They’re footballers, they’re happy, good mood, every time you meet new people you’re excited, it’s the first time you see them, I know a few, had them in the reserves and they’ve been great.”
Solskjaer said he would have “input” in the January transfer window, with United planning a move for a new central defender.
“I will have an input but the job is to get to know the players, observe them I’ve seen more or less every game from Norway but to get to know the players, what do I think I can improve them on and the club have got the recruitment and scouting, they’ve got their targets but I’ve not sat down and talked about that.”
Solskjaer confirmed that Romelu Lukaku had been given “a couple of days off” to deal with a personal matter which, presumably, means he is unlikely to figure against Cardiff.
Asked whether United, 11 points adrift of Chelsea, can finish in the top four, Solskjaer said: “I think first thing is first game, think about getting my principles into the boys, get the players to understand how I want them to play and let’s take the results later on see how many points we can gather but this club has made many many points before but I’m not going to set that target now.”
Solskjaer added: “My job is to help the players, make them grasp the opportunity, they all want to be part of Manchester United. I’m here to help them, help the team, down to man management, I had the best manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) as a player and coach to deal with players and it’s about communication, I’ll sit down and speak to the ones not playing. When you’re at Manchester United there are a set of demands and one is to be a team player and I don’t think anyone has been on the bench more than me! That’s my comeback to players, you might come on make an impact.”
9:17am That’s your lot
A steady first appearance from Solskjaer, who takes charge of United for the first time on Saturday in their tea-time fixture at Cardiff.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Solskjaer – speaking with an endearing Mancunian twang – made it clear he would like to stay at Old Trafford beyond the season.
9:15am Stay beyond end of the season
There are so many managers who would love to be manager of Manchester United, I’m one of them.
9:14am Your philosophy? We play without fear
It is about getting every player to their very best, speaking to them on the training ground and getting your philosophy through.
No matter what team or players you are coaching they want a picture of how you want to play. These are quality players they will be able to express themselves.
We play at Manchester United, you play without fear
9:13 Influence of Sir Alex
He influenced me with everything, the way he has dealt with people the way he was the manager, how he kept 25 internationals, as we are talking about here now, happy and hungry. He has been my mentor.
I have already been in touch with him, there is no one better to get advice from.
9:12 Points target? You know all about comebacks
First game, we’ll get my principles into the boys, get them playing how we want to play as a team, work together and then let’s take the results later on. This club has made up many points before but I am not going to set that target now.
9:12am Lukaku off for compassionate leave?
He has had a couple of days off, I’ve not seen Alexis [Sanchez either] because he is on his way back as well. I am looking forward to seeing them but that was decided before me.
9:06am How will you manage team selection?
I don’t think anyone has been on the bench more than me! That’s my comeback to players – you might come on make an impact
9:06am January signings?
I will have an input but the job is to get to know the players, observe them I’ve seen more or less every game from Norway but to get to know the players, what do I think I can improve them on and the club have got the scouting, they’ve got their targets but I’ve not sat down and talked about that
9:05am Mood of the players?
They’re footballers, they are happy there has been a good mood, every time you meet new people you are excited.
I know a few of them before from the reserves and I’ve seen a few of them grow up when I was a player as well.
9:04am What’s your role?
It’s just five or six months so just help out while the club is doing a process to find a new manager.
9:02am Here we go
The first question is whether Solskjaer had any doubts about taking on the challenge.
No, of course not. I didn’t think twice as a player and this is an even bigger honour. It’s a privilege.
8:50 In other United news
Brazilian midfielder Fred has pledged to fight for his future at Old Trafford despite being frozen out by former manager Jose Mourinho.
8:30am Solskjaer has arrived
The United caretaker manager is taking questions from the media. We will have updates for you at 9am as soon as we have them.
8:32am Welcome Ole
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will meet the media for the first time on Friday morning after replacing Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Solskjaer is due to speak to reporters at the club’s Carrington training headquarters at 8.30am ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Cardiff, the club he managed for nine months in 2014. The rules around United’s press conferences mean everything is embargoed until half an hour after everything starts, so we’ll have updates for you as soon as they come in at 9am.
Solskjaer’s press conference comes after him promising the players a chance to prove themselves all over again after some fell out of favour under Mourinho.
World Cup winner Paul Pogba, a £89.3million signing from Juventus, started only one of Mourinho’s last four games in charge and has looked a shadow of the player who played a key role in France’s triumph in Russia this summer, but he will be one of those hoping to show he can rediscover his best form.
Solskjaer told MUTV: “Playing games is the best time of your life and the more games you get, the better it is. For me as a manager now, it’s great because you have to rotate, so you will get to see many players and they’ll get the chance.
“Everyone in the squad knows that ‘I’ve got a chance now’ because whatever has gone, whatever has happened has happened. Now it’s just about from here.
“Everyone starts with a clean slate and we want players to perform, and we’ll give them the chance.”
Mourinho’s two-and-a-half-year reign came to a close with United sitting in sixth place in the table, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, and receiving criticism for the style of football they were playing.
Solskjaer, who enjoyed a stellar 11-year playing career at Old Trafford during which he scored the winner in the 1999 Champions League final, vowed to allow his players to express themselves after taking charge until the end of the season.
Asked if he had been able to run the rule over Cardiff during what he admitted had been a “whirlwind” few days, he said: “Of course, I have watched the Premier League, I have seen all the teams, so I have got a little bit of a view on them.
“But it’s not about the opposition, it’s about us. It’s about Manchester United, it’s about our players knowing what they can do.
“We want to see them express themselves, so my main focus, of course, will be on us, how we want the team to play, and then we will give them one or two details about the opposition.
“We have got 23, 24 players, they’re all quality and they’ll all get a chance now. With the amount of games coming up, they have got a chance to show that they are Manchester United players.”