Cardiff appoints Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as its new manager
Solskjaer succeeds Malky Mackay, who was sacked last month
It is his first managerial job in England after coaching Molde in Norway
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rescued Manchester United in 1999 to help the club win the Champions League, and he has now been charged with the task of saving Cardiff City from relegation into English football’s second tier.
The 40-year-old Norwegian famously came off the substitutes’ bench for United in Barcelona to score the winner in stoppage time, giving them a 2-1 victory against Bayern Munich – a win that wrapped up the Treble for Alex Ferguson’s men.
Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan will be hoping Solskjaer, who has been given a 12-month rolling contract, can work similar magic for the struggling Welsh side after appointing the former Molde boss as Malky Mackay’s successor on Thursday.
Cardiff, who lost 2-0 to Arsenal on Wednesday, currently sit one point and one place above the English Premier League relegation zone.
Solskjaer, who attended the match at the Emirates Stadium alongside Tan, promised the Cardiff fans a positive brand of football.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead. I’m going to bring my energy and enthusiasm to the club,” he told reporters. “I’m a very positive manager. I want to play a good style of football and yesterday [against Arsenal] we showed what a threat we can be.”
Solskjaer added: “It’s a fantastic challenge for me. Cardiff are ready to take the next step up, I hope I can help them. I’ve always dreamed of being a manager in the Premier League and I’m delighted to get the opportunity.”
Although he has no prior managerial experience in England, having only previously taken charge of Molde, Solskjaer did have a spell coaching United’s reserves shortly after hanging up his boots.
The 40-year-old is set to make a return to Old Trafford – where he spent 11 years as a player – when Cardiff face United on January 28.
Solskjaer’s side also face a trip to Manchester City 10 days before that, while his first game in charge sees Cardiff visit Newcastle on Saturday in the FA Cup third round. The FA Cup is England’s second major competition.
“We’ve got some of the toughest trips in world football coming up this month. They’re games we’ll relish and look forward to,” Solskjaer said. “We want to push this club forward and up the Premier League. The quality of the staff and players is high here.”
Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman was given the task of recruiting a new manager after Tan decided to sack Mackay last month.
“There was only one name in my head from the very beginning. We’re delighted to welcome Ole to Cardiff,” Dalman told reporters.
“I’ve seen Ole play for many, many years. I like his style of football and his ideas on the game. He is an extremely good communicator. Common sense, pragmatic discussions and trust were the key in bringing Ole here.”