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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals some Manchester United players ‘wanted to leave’ after he got permanent job

Ole Gunnar Solskjær reveals things changed when he got the Man United job on a permanent basis
Ole Gunnar Solskjær reveals things changed when he got the Man United job on a permanent basis

Ole Gunnar Solskjær reveals things changed when he got the Man United job on a permanent basis

In a recent interview to FourFourTwo, as reported by Metro, Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted that players wanted to leave Man United after his managerial position at the club was made permanent.

“I arrived and was asked to go straight to the staff Christmas party at Lancashire Cricket Club. I walked in halfway through the night. The place was packed. I was introduced. Everyone – and United have 1,000 staff – was singing. Smiling. And we’d not even played a game.

“We went to Cardiff, my old club, in my first game and scored five. It was just about letting the players play. Play forward, run forward, create chances, score and enjoy being a Man United player. We won our first eight games and had a great time together. 

“Then suddenly the media – I understand why, because we were playing so well – were asking, ‘Does he get the job permanently?’ I’d never thought about doing it permanently, I was just enjoying myself and the players were, too. I got the job and something changed. 

“Tiredness, since we demanded a lot. That caused injuries. Some players wanted to leave. I felt that the air came out of the balloon at the end of that first season, but in my two full seasons we finished third and second in the Premier League.”

No manager since Sir Alex Ferguson has delivered back-to-back top-four finishes for United in the Premier League apart from Solskjær. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)
No manager since Sir Alex Ferguson has delivered back-to-back top-four finishes for United in the Premier League apart from Solskjær. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Under the Norwegian, the Red Devils won 92 games of the 168 he oversaw, losing 41. They failed to win any trophy with him at the helm, despite making four semi-finals and one Europa League final, which they lost to Villarreal on penalties.

The 51-year-old has been working with UEFA as a Match Analyst since 2023, having received his marching orders from Old Trafford in November 2021.

An interim’s boon, a custodian’s bane

The directive Solskjær received when he arrived from Molde on an interim basis back in December 2018 was simple: dust away the cobwebs that had set in during the days of José Mourinho and let the players breathe and make them feel at home.

That dynamic between the manager and his players inevitably changed when he got the job full-time. Responsibility and pressure increased on both sides and, to their credit, United maintained themselves high up in the Premier League while going deep in cup competitions.

Solskjær has not returned to management since leaving Man United. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
Solskjær has not returned to management since leaving Man United. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

The bottom line, though, bitter as it may be, remains that Solskjær should never have been given the full-time job despite acknowledging that he exceeded expectations. A club of United’s stature should have been more prudent in their decision-making.

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But, as we have come to realise now, that is not something the Glazer-owned Man United will be remembered for.

Written by Anshuman Joshi

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