Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s actions on his first day at Manchester United training sum him up. At the end of two-and-a-half difficult years, Manchester United have found themselves the anti-Mourinho: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils had slumped to their worst start to a Premier League season, the football was dire, and worst of all, many within Old Trafford felt that Mourinho just didn’t understand the ethos of the club.
Behind-the-scenes, United is so much more than a football club. It’s about family, it’s about bringing out the best in youngsters. Fundamentally, it’s about people.
And that’s exactly where the Portuguese went wrong.
There were high-profile arguments with the likes of Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, and Anthony Martial, while it has been reported this week that the board were even unhappy with the clothes Mourinho wore to an event marking the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
It’s little surprise then, that Ed Woodward has finally turned to a man who lives and breathes Manchester United.
Solskjaer’s only previous experience coaching in the Premier League was with Cardiff and the Bluebirds were relegated during his time there.
However, the former striker impressed during his time working with United’s reserves and he has fared very well at Molde, winning two Tippeligaen and one Norwegian Football Cup.
Now, it can sometimes be dangerous to appoint a club legend purely on the basis of their heroic status. For every Zidane or Guardiola, there’s an Henry or a Shearer.
Woodward has made a shrewd move, nonetheless, as he will have known Solskjaer would be a popular choice among the fans and staff.
Such is the Norwegian’s rapport with everyone at Carrington that upon his arrival at 8:30 this morning, The Sun report his first act was to give long-standing receptionist Kath Phipps, who he knew well during his playing days, a bar of chocolate from his homeland.
It’s a great gesture, especially given the depth of Solskjaer’s overflowing in-tray. He has much to do, starting with getting the players on board ahead of the weekend’s game against his former employers, Cardiff.
Should he be a success, the same source claim United will pay Molde £7.2million in compensation to appoint him on a long-term basis.
Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane are already being touted as permanent successors, but Solskjaer will be given a chance to prove himself.
At the very least, he has started on the right foot as he looks to close the 19-point gap between United and league-leaders Liverpool over the coming months.
Is Solskjaer the right man for United? Have your say in the comments.