Solskjaer Says He Is Leaving Man Utd In ‘Better State’

File photo: Ex-Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he hopes to have left Manchester United in a better state than he inherited them three years ago after the Norwegian was sacked by the club on Sunday.

A 4-1 thrashing at the hands of lowly Watford finally saw the axe fall on Solskjaer’s position after the club’s hierarchy kept faith with the 48-year-old in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

“This club means everything to me and together we’re a good match, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside,” Solskjaer said in an interview with United’s in-house media.

“You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here. For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff. I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies.”

Solskjaer was handed the job on an interim basis in December 2018 thanks to his legendary status at the club after scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final to complete a historic treble.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Sack Solskjaer After Dismal Run

After winning 14 of his first 19 matches, he was then handed the job on a permanent deal.

Two seasons of steady progress saw United finish in the Premier League top four in back-to-back seasons for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired as boss in 2013.

But silverware escaped Solskjaer as he lost four cup semi-finals and last season’s Europa League final in a marathon penalty shootout to Villarreal.

Expectations were high of a Premier League title challenge this season after the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the transfer window.

But United have lost five of their last seven league games to fall 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

“I want to thank the board and the owners for giving me the opportunity because it’s not for everyone and I’ve had the opportunity,” added Solskjaer.

“I’m so honoured and privileged to have been trusted to take the club forward, and I really hope that I leave it in a better state than when I came.

“I think there is potential in this club. We all love the club, and we all want to see it continue.”

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching staff, will take charge of Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash against Villarreal.

Solskjaer said he had spoken to the players on Sunday morning to encourage them to prove they are better than they have showed in recent weeks in Spain.

“As I’ve said to them this morning as well, trust yourselves, you know we’re better than this,” he added.

“We’ve not been able to show it but go out, chest out, enjoy being a Man United player, in the Champions League, on the biggest stage. If and when you win the game, you’re through to the next round.

“Michael is going to be in charge. Michael, I have the utmost respect, I love Michael to bits. I’m becoming emotional now because he’s top. They’ll be fine. I’ll watch them and support them.”

AFP

Solskjaer Defends Decision To Rest Ronaldo After Everton Slip


Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo as he comes off the substitutes bench during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 2, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he did not regret resting Cristiano Ronaldo after Manchester United let two more Premier League points slip away at Old Trafford as Everton emerged with a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

United missed the chance to move top of the Premier League and needed a late VAR call in their favour to avoid a second consecutive home league defeat.

Yerry Mina’s late winner for the Toffees was ruled out by a review for offside after Andros Townsend’s excellent equaliser had cancelled out Anthony Martial’s opener for United.

Solskjaer’s decision to start Ronaldo on the bench will be questioned as the Red Devils have now won just two of their last six games in all competitions.

But the manager defended that call and his side’s start to the season as they moved level on points with Liverpool and one ahead of champions Manchester City before those two teams clash at Anfield on Sunday.

“You make decisions throughout the season, you’ve got to manage the players’ workload,” said Solskjaer. “The decision was, for me, the correct one today.”

“We have started better than last season, but it is still not what we wanted.”

Ronaldo’s heroics deep into stoppage time against Villarreal on Wednesday saved United from having a mountain to climb to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

But Solskjaer did not risk the 36-year-old with a third start in a week as he took his place on a star-studded bench alongside Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba among five changes.

Martial’s inclusion was the surprise with Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek also left on the sidelines.

The Frenchman struggled to impress in his few previous outings this season and missed a glorious early chance when he mistimed his jump for a free header at the back post.

But Martial made amends two minutes before half-time when he latched onto a Bruno Fernandes pass to fire beyond Jordan Pickford thanks to a slight deflection.

READ ALSOMessi Suffers First PSG Defeat In Loss At Rennes

Everton Level After Ronaldo Introduction 


Everton’s English striker Andros Townsend (C) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 2, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Solskjaer called on Ronaldo and Sancho 10 minutes into the second half as he sought to put the game beyond Benitez’s men.

But it was Everton who struck to expose United’s frailty on the counter-attack.

Demarai Gray won the ball on the left and freed Abdoulaye Doucoure into acres of space in midfield, the latter played in Townsend to fire home his fifth goal in nine appearances for the club.

“We need to be better at when to risk it and how not to be counter-attacked,” added Solskjaer. “We did have enough players behind the ball, we made a couple of bad decisions which cost us in those 10 seconds.”

Solskjaer responded by adding another creative threat, bringing on Pogba for Fred.

United’s trio of star substitutes nearly rode to their manager’s rescue as Ronaldo and Pogba fired narrowly off target from Sancho passes.

Yet, only a matter of inches saved United from a second home league defeat in eight days after Aston Villa’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford last weekend.

Mina tapped home from a Tom Davies cross, but the Colombian had just strayed offside to United’s relief.

“We can be happy with one point but it could have been better,” said Benitez, who has made a fine start to life as Everton boss.

“Davies saw the position of Yerry and he thought it was a better position. You cannot blame him (for not taking on a shot), he was in the right position it was unlucky for some centimetres it was offside.”

AFP

Solskjaer Talks Tough, Vows To Get Best Out Of Pogba

In this file photo taken on January 04, 2014 Cardiff City’s former Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on before the English FA cup third round football match between Newcastle United and Cardiff City at St James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne on January 4, 2014.
Ian MacNicol / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will be no pushover as he attempts to save Manchester United’s season, vowing to get the best out of Paul Pogba, who fell out spectacularly with Jose Mourinho.

Former Old Trafford favourite Solskjaer – known in his playing days as the “Baby-faced Assassin”, has been appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season after Mourinho was sacked earlier this week.

The Norwegian, 45, who spent nearly 15 years with United as a player and reserve team coach, has stressed the importance of his stars playing with a smile on their faces under his leadership after a miserable season so far.

But he also said he would not be afraid to take a leaf out of the disciplinary book of his former United manager and mentor Alex Ferguson, whose legendary temper tantrums became known as the “hairdryer” treatment.

“We are all different to how we manage people and the manager (Ferguson) was different to every individual,” said Solskjaer.

“Of course, maybe I should get the hairdryer out of my pocket because I’ve got a hairdryer – when my hair needs lifting I use it on myself. But I am also not afraid of, if you like, laying down the law.

“You know with your kids when they disappoint you, you tell them off, you don’t give them some chocolate do you?

“So you treat players similar to how you treat your kids really because you want the best for them, you want to guide them, you want to help them.”

Solskjaer’s promotion from Norwegian club Molde, who have “loaned” him to United, has surprised many in football.

But he has been a popular appointment, not least because he has worked with a number of the club’s current players in his previous coaching role.

Pogba fallout

Pogba, whose relationship with Mourinho had been little short of toxic this season, was a member of Solskjaer’s reserve team in 2010 and the interim boss has pledged to try and return him to the form he showed in helping France win the World Cup.

“He’s a World Cup winner,” said Solskjaer. “Paul is a terrific lad and when I had him as a kid, he was always there, the happy-go-lucky lad.

“He hasn’t changed personality-wise. He’s a better player of course and he’s one that I want to get the best out of. You have so many quality players that I want to get the best out of. He’s no different to anyone else in that respect.”

While Pogba’s new manager dismisses the argument that the balance of power in football clubs has shifted to the players, he has reminded the Frenchman, and others, about their responsibilities with regards to social media.

Pogba quickly deleted a controversial social media post of him smiling after manager Mourinho was sacked.

“I’m not sure about you saying the power has gone to the dressing room,” he said. “Football has evolved, of course, and the gaffer (Ferguson) was in charge of more or less the whole club.

“Football is developing. The structure of the club has developed. The power is with the manager. He picks the team, the tactics, the strategy.

“The philosophy is in these walls. That legacy is more important than any player power. I have to say being a Man United player is a privilege and I think all of them want to succeed here.”

Solskjaer’s first game in charge will be at his former club Cardiff although he appears likely to be without forward Romelu Lukaku, who has been absent from the club this week, attending to a personal matter.

Quotes That Detail Mourinho’s Fall From Grace At United

 

On Tueday, Jose Mourinho’s increasingly tempestuous reign at Manchester United came to an end when the club sacked him after just two-and-a-half years in charge.

The 55-year-old’s unhappiness at the club manifested itself even before the season started.

Here are five quotes that chart the decline in relations between Mourinho, the club and the players:

July 24

Mourinho’s relationship with record signing Paul Pogba had already become fraught in the 2017/18 season when he dropped the Frenchman for the Champions League loss to Sevilla. But the path to the complete breakdown in relations took root in the wake of comments he made after the 25-year-old’s shining moment in scoring in the World Cup final win over Croatia. Pogba was said to be furious when he read the remarks.

READ ALSO: Pochettino Speaks As Manchester Seeks Replacement For Mourinho

“During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again.

“In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up.

“So I think it was the perfect environment for him.”

July 29

Mourinho voices his concerns, following a 4-1 pre-season hammering by Liverpool, regarding the transfer policy of the club even though early in the close season he had been quick off the mark and secured Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and full-back Diogo Dalot from FC Porto.

“I gave a list to my club of five names a few months ago and I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players. If it’s possible, it’s possible. If it’s not, it’s not. If it’s possible, it’s good. If not then we keep fighting and working and believing in the players that we have.”

August 31

Just a few weeks into the season Mourinho felt obliged to remind the world of his achievements as a manager, resorting to citing German philosopher Georg Hegel to support his argument.

“Did you read any philosopher? You spent time reading Hegel. Just as an example Hegel says: ‘The truth is in the whole,’ (it is) always in the whole.”

November 30

By this stage, United was 14 points off neighbours Manchester City and seven adrift of the Champions League qualification places. Mourinho returned to his favoured defence of how hard it is to buy the top players even though over his tenure he spent around £360 million ($455 million).

“You have no chance in the market unless you go to crazy numbers. Instead, you go to the second-level players where you still have crazy numbers, and where people say, and I agree, that’s not what Manchester United is.”

December 4

Less than a week later Mourinho had revised his target for finishing in the top four at the end of the year — there is an eight-point gap between them in seventh spot and fourth-placed Arsenal. His low ambitions not only upset United fans further but probably set alarm bells ringing in the boardroom. A further tirade at the players failed to spark them into positive action as evidenced by the dysfunctional display against Liverpool.

“The target changed but let’s try to close the distance as best as we can and be very close to these positions.

“We need some players to perform better than they are. We need to perform better as a team, but it would be far from a miracle.”

AFP

Man Utd Confirm Alex Ferguson Out Of Intensive Care

Ferguson 'Showing Signs Of Recovery' After Haemorrhage
FILES) In this file photo taken on April 07, 2018 Manchester United’s former manager Alex Ferguson is seen in the crowd during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England. 
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Manchester United confirmed on Wednesday that legendary former manager Alex Ferguson is out of intensive care following emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

Ferguson, 76, was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital for the procedure on Saturday after a fall at his home near Manchester.

“Sir Alex no longer needs intensive care and will continue rehabilitation as an inpatient,” United said in a statement.

“His family have been overwhelmed by the level of support and good wishes but continue to request privacy as this will be vital during this next stage of recovery.”

United’s statement was the first update on Ferguson’s condition provided by the club since saying the procedure on the haemorrhage on Saturday had gone “very well”.

Considered the most successful manager in the history of British football, Ferguson won 38 trophies in just over 26 years in charge of United, including 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice before retiring in 2013.

Earlier on Wednesday, current United manager Jose Mourinho said the club are “very positive” Ferguson would make a full recovery.

The esteem with which Ferguson is held around the world was reflected in an outpouring of well wishes, including from a number of United’s rivals and figures the Scot challenged for trophies during a glorious career.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Ferguson as “absolutely the boss”.

“All the Manchester City fans in the stadium, you cannot find one person who does not wish the best for an amazing person,” said Pep Guardiola, manager of cross-city rivals Manchester City on the day City lifted the Premier League trophy.

“The whole football world is incredible but outside of that as well, from all corners of the globe and different walks of life, people have shown their support,” United club captain Michael Carrick told MUTV.

“That’s the effect he had on people. It was the effect he had on everyone. He means a lot to me, as he does to this club.”

Man U Confirm Ibrahimovic Out With ‘Significant’ Knee injury

MourinhoManchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered significant knee ligament damage in the Europa League clash between the Red Devils and Anderlecht, the club confirmed in a statement on Saturday.

“Detailed investigations on the injuries sustained by Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Thursday’s Europa League match have confirmed significant knee ligament damage in both players that requires specialist opinions over the coming days,” United said.

Reports in the British press suggest the Swede could be out for as long as nine months, but the club did not provide details of how long he and defender Rojo would be sidelined.

“Estimations of time to full recovery will only be possible once definitive treatment plans have been decided after these consultations,” the statement noted.

Ibrahimovic, United’s top scorer for the season with 28 goals, had landed badly during the game and is expected to miss the rest of the season and the chance to add to his legend at age 35.

The outspoken striker is approaching the end of his one-year contract with United and there have been talks of a renewal as well as links to a transfer to the US.

A lot could change with the injury.

Beside the injuries which pose a major threat to Jose Mourinho’s quest for a top four finish in the Premier League and Europa League glory for his side, Thursday’s clash was tragic for football fans in Nigeria.

Many fans who were watching the United-Anderlecht clash at a viewing centre in Calabar were electrocuted when a high-tension wire fell on the roof of the building.

United have since send their condolences to the families of the victim, while President Muhammadu Buhari said he was shocked and saddened by the tragedy.

United will take on Spanish side Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-finals on May 4 and 11, thanks to the costly victory.

Chelsea Beat Manchester United 4-0

Chelsea, Manchester United, EPLFormer Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho was humiliated on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the Blues thrashed Manchester United 4-0.

The Blues led after just 30 seconds when Pedro capitalised on slack defending. Smalling hesitated as a long ball flew in, De Gea charged out and Pedro stole in to whip the ball round the ‘keeper into an empty net for what is now the fastest goal of the season.

The evening got worse for Jose Mourinho 20 minutes later. From a corner, the ball broke to Gary Cahill six yards out and he volleyed high into the net past De Gea.

United offered little sign of making a comeback after failing to capitalise on their good spell in the second half and they fell further behind when Eden Hazard drilled in a precise 15-yard strike to make it 3-0.

It was no way back at this point for the Reds. N’golo Kante sealed victory with a stunning goal; his first for Chelsea.

He took the ball after a clever flick from Pedro, brilliantly dribling past Chris Smalling and then rolled sublimely into the corner past David de Gea.

Chelsea with the victory, moved within a point of English Premier League leaders Manchester City who had earlier played a 1-1 draw with Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

 

Kurt Zouma Out For Six Months, Chelsea Confirm

zoumaChelsea Football Club’s medical team have diagnosed that Kurt Zouma sustained an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament during Sunday’s Premier League game against Manchester United.

Kurt will undergo surgery in the next 48 hours and is expected to be out for approximately six months.

Zouma also tweeted, “Scan today has shown I injured my anterior cruciate ligament. I will have surgery this week and will come back stronger.”

The France centre-back has made 32 appearances for Chelsea this term.

The Blues came from behind to earn a point courtesy of Diego Costa’s 91st-minute equaliser after Jesse Lingard had given Man-U the lead in the match played at Stamford Bridge.

Van Gaal Admits Pressure Increasing After Man-U Loss

Van GaalManchester United suffered a 2-0 defeat to Stoke City on Boxing Day to make it their fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.

Louis van Gaal, who expressed disappointment when talking to Sky Sports and MUTV after the final whistle at the Britannia Stadium, criticized his team for failing to play.

“My thoughts are that we didn’t dare to play football in the first half and then we gave a very bad goal away. That was too much. They scored from a free-kick and then it was half-time.

“We have spoken with each other and I have to say the second half was much better, we created one or two chances and you have to score. Then the belief is coming back and we played better in the second half, but the problem is we didn’t dare to play.

Manchester United face Chelsea in their next match and van Gaal knows beating the Blues could be a tough task, “You can say we can quickly get revenge for this defeat against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything and then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the game, and that you dare to play our football.

“It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try.”

Several fans are calling for the Dutchman to be sacked and his future has been a subject of speculation in the media but he has been confident about turning things around for the Red Devils.

However, the loss seems to have affected the confidence as he admitted that the pressure had increased, “I have tried to do everything but the pressure shall be higher and higher with every match. That is the problem now.

“It is more difficult because I am also part of the four matches we have lost so people are looking at me and I have to deal with that, but more importantly the players have to deal with that because they are the ones who have to perform.”

Man-U, Arsenal FA Cup Tie Is Like A Final – Van Gaal

Van GaalManchester United Manager, Louis Van Gaal, is savouring Monday night’s FA Cup tie against Arsenal and feels the quarter-final clash could have a substantial effect on the race for the big four in the Barclays Premier League.

The United boss senses an opportunity to take a big step towards retaining his record of winning a trophy in his first season with every club he’s managed.

The former Netherlands boss also appreciates that a cup victory over United’s old rivals at Old Trafford could have a positive psychological effect in the league as the battle for Champions League places hots up.

“It’s a game between two teams of 11 players,” Van Gaal said, speaking to his pre-match press conference.

“United and Arsenal are placed third and fourth in the league, so it’s almost like a final, I think.

“We have the support of our fans but Arsenal shall bring a lot of fans too. Also, Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams. I hope we can give a fantastic match for the fans.

“I think if we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us. It is very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the rat race,” van Gaal said.

Christiano Ronaldo Is Third Top Scorer In Real Madrid’s History

Cronaldohristiano Ronaldo  has scored a total of  290 goals since he started playing in Real Madrid, making him the third top scorer in Real Madrid’s history. Ronaldo has scored in all of the games he has played in the round of 16 stage of the Champions League since the 2011/12 season.

Cristiano Ronaldo began demonstrating his eye for goal since 29 August 2009 against Deportivo, when he got on the score sheet during a 3-2 win in the Santiago Bernabéu. The ease with which the Portuguese man is able to break records means that, in the space of just six years, his name is already being talked about in the same breath as the club’s all-time best players.

Ronaldo kept up his fantastic performance in the Champions League round of 16. Since the 2011/12 season he has scored in all of the matches in this round. In total, that means he has scored in seven successive round of 16 matches.

The run began in 2012 against CSKA Moscow, where Ronaldo scored a goal in a 1-1 game in Russia, and featured again in the return leg by scoring two of the team’s four goals.

Ronaldo was once again decisive in the game against Schalke 04.

A year later, the Portuguese player made a vital contribution in the win against Manchester United in the round of 16.

Ronaldo scored the Whites’ goal in the home leg and got the second goal in the away leg at Old Trafford that sealed through to the next round.

Last season, the Whites had a clear win over Schalke in the round of 16 where Ronaldo scored twice on the night of the 6-1 win and got another brace during the 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The run has continued this year, with the German team once again the opponents. Cristiano has scored five goals against them in three games.

Christiano Ronaldo continues to write his name in the Real Madrid records as he is now the club’s third top scorer of all time. Ronaldo’s header against Schalkebrings the forward’s tally with the Whites to 290 goals, thus equaling Santillana’s record.

The Portuguese star has reached this milestone after 280 games, while the Cantabrian needed 645 matches to do so. The only players ahead of Ronaldo are Raúl (323) and Di Stéfano (308).

Manchester United Secures Mega Deal With Adidas

Man unitedEnglish Premier League side, Manchester United, have signed a major kit deal with German Sport Kit giant, Adidas, in what is believed to be worth minimum of £750million over 10 years from the 2015-16 season.

The deal is a welcome boost for the club whose performances on the pitch last season were hugely disappointing and they can now look forward to fresh investment as the staggering figure is more than double the amount they get from American sport kit company and current partner, Nike.

It would be the first time in 23 years that the German Sport Kit organization has made Manchester United strip in 23 years, since the 1991-92 season.

A club statement on Monday read: “Manchester United PLC has reached a 10-year agreement with Adidas for a global technical sponsorship and dual branded licensing deal for a minimum guarantee of £750m, subject to certain adjustments, beginning with the 2015/2016 campaign.

The Group Chief Executive of Adidas, Herbert Hainer, who was excited about the deal, believes the partnership with United would help to strengthen the kit company’s position in the world

“We are excited to team up with Manchester United, one of the most successful and most loved football clubs globally.

“Our new partnership with Manchester United clearly underlines our leadership in football and would help us to further strengthen our position in key markets around the world.

“At the same time, this collaboration marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential. We expect total sales to reach £1.5billion during the duration of our partnership”, Hainer concluded.

It is believed Adidas would provide training and playing kit to all the club’s teams and would have the exclusive right to distribute dual-branded merchandising products worldwide.

Nike had released a statement, saying that it decided to end its association with the Old Trafford club at the end of the 2014-15 season claiming that eye-watering figures were being demanded.

It brings an end to a 13-year association that United have enjoyed with the sportswear giants after signing a long-term deal with the firm in 2002. Manchester United unveiled their new home kit for the 2014-15 season which would be the last designed by Nike and the first to bear the logo of new sponsor Chevrolet.