Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2014 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, January 3, 2014
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the ultimate super-
sub in his 11 years at Manchester United, his lethal
finishing snatching priceless league points and
famously winning his team the Champions League
Now, he is back in the Premier League and on a
very different kind of rescue mission---saving Cardiff
The 40-year-old Solskjaer was hired as Cardiff s
new manager on Thursday, swapping job security at
Molde and a settled family life in his native Norway
for the high-pressure world of football s richest league.
"I felt I needed to be back here," Solskjaer said of
his return to the Premier League.
"I wish I was 25 again and playing in the Premier
League," he added. "Time ticks for everyone so I
can t---now I m a lucky man to be a manager in the
Nicknamed the "Baby-faced Assassin" during his
time at United from 1996-2007, it was a gray-haired
Solskjaer who was presented at Cardiff City Stadium
as the replacement for Malky Mackay, who was fired
last week after losing a power struggle with the Welsh
club s Malaysian owner, Vincent Tan.
Solskjaer has signed a rolling, season-by-season
contract, with his first task to ensure Cardiff retains
its Premier League status following its return to Eng-
land s top flight for the first time in 51 years. Cardiff
is 17th in the 20-team Premier League---a point and
a place above the relegation zone after 20 games.
If he achieves that, his next aim will be to establish
the team from the Welsh capital as a force in the
division. And he is pledging to do so by playing an
attacking brand of football modeled on the sides of
Alex Ferguson, who was his manager at United in
that trophy-laden decade when Solskjaer won six
league titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League.
Naturally, Solskjaer spoke to Ferguson before accept-
ing the job at Cardiff, which is increasingly perceived
in Britain as a tough role because of Tan s reported
meddling in team affairs.
"When there s a big decision to make, you rely on
certain people you trust," Solskjaer said. "I trusted
him with my football career, to manage my career,
and I trust him now as well."
Solskjaer s career, which reached its peak when he
diverted home United s injury-time winner in a 2-
1 victory over Bayern Munich in that most dramatic
of Champions League finals, ended in 2007 after he
failed to recover from a serious knee injury. He
remained at United in a coaching and ambassadorial
role, however, and went on to become the club s
He coached Molde---his former club---from 2011,
winning back-to-back titles in his first two seasons
and then the Norwegian Cup in his third.
Solskjaer was always tipped to make a return to
the Premier League sooner rather than later, and was
linked with vacant roles at Aston Villa and Blackburn
only to stay in Norway for family reasons.
He was immediately installed as favorite to succeed
Mackay after the Scot was fired on Friday and held
talks with Tan and chairman Mehmet Dalman at
Arsenal s Emirates Stadium on Wednesday before
the team s match against the Premier League lead-
ers.Dalman said Solskjaer s name was the "only one
name in my head from the very beginning."
"He is coming here to prove something to himself
and to Cardiff," Dalman said. "I had no doubts from
day one, so I do feel like the cat that got the cream."
Working under Tan may prove to be challenging,
with Mackay barely communicating with his owner
by the end of his time in charge. Since buying Cardiff
in 2010, Tan has alienated some supporters by chang-
ing the club s colors from blue to red, adopting a
new crest and then removing Mackay, who had guided
the team to a League Cup final in 2012
and the Premier League a year later.
"When I went to Manchester United,
it was a new experience for me; when
I went back to Molde with the English
influence I had, that was a cultural dif-
ference for people back in Norway,"
Solskjaer said. "Now when I come here,
I want to create a culture here too. The
communication between me and
Mehmet and me and the owner will
be crucial. Communication and dia-
logue is the key in any organization."
Solskjaer s first game in charge is
against Newcastle in the third round
of the FA Cup tomorrow. He will return
to Old Trafford on January 28 for a
league match against United.
Cardiff hires Solskjaer
as new manager
A January 12, 2011 photo from files showing former
Manchester United soccer player Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer during his first training session as manager
for Norwegian team Molde FK in Molde, Norway. AP
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