March 28 – After weeks of speculation Manchester United have appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their permanent manager on a three-year contract.
The Norwegian, a hugely popular figure when he spent 11 seasons as a United player, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final, arrived as interim coach from Molde in his native country in December to replace Jose Mourinho and totally changed the environment and mentality on and off the pitch.
“This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long term,” Solskjaer said. “From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club. It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here. The last few months have been a fantastic experience.”
When Solskjaer took charge, United were sixth in the Premier League and 11 points off the top four. But they have lost only once in 13 league games since and are now two points behind the final Champions League qualifying spot. He became the first United manager to win his first six league games, beating a record held by Sir Matt Busby.
Under his stewardship, United also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2014.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said Solskjaer’s appointment was “richly deserved”.
“Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves,” he said. “More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.”
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