Interim no more

Manchester United makes Solskjær official

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Photo: Scott Heppell / VG
Ole Gunnar Solskjær on the Manchester United sidelines. Solskjær was named “permanent” manager of the legendary English Premier League team in March. The former Molde manager and star ManU player was named interim manager in December.

Jo Christian Weldingh

After two losses in a row, newly appointed Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær won his first match after being appointed as “permanent” Manchester United manager in March when Watford was defeated 2-1.

A counter attack goal by Marcus Rashford and a lucky strike by Anthony Martial was enough to secure the victory in a game Watford dominated for big parts. Despite winning and getting the ever important three points, Solskjær’s men were less than happy with their own performance.

“It’s almost like a funeral in there,” the former Molde manager told the press after the match, talking about the atmosphere in Manchester United’s locker room.

The atmosphere was a lot better earlier in the week when Solskjær was given a three-year contract as permanent manager for the Manchester club. He signed a temporary contract only last December after the United board decided to sack former manager Jose Mourinho.

Under Solskjær’s management, the club has been superb, gathering more points than any other English Premier League club and knocking French powerhouse Paris St. Germain out of Champions League. But Solskjær’s managerial re-entrance into the club he spent more than a decade in as a player is more than just the results. Coaches, players, and staff have been talking about new energy, better mood and the return of “the Old Manchester United.”

Even though Manchester United has been a shadow of its former self the last couple of seasons, Solskjær is constantly referring to the club as “the Greatest in the World” and continues to say that Manchester United is always the favorite to win, no matter who they play. That attitude inspires confidence, according to the players.

Solskjær seemed like the happiest man on the planet after the news broke about his new position. He laughed and smiled through the press conference held to announce his appointment.

“From the day I arrived I have felt at home in this special club,” he said. “It has been an honor being a United player and now a United manager. The events over the last few months have been an amazing experience. I want to thank the coaches, the players, and the staff for the work we have done together so far.”

Solskjær continued, “You know when people say they have a dream job? That’s truer for me than for anyone else on the planet, I think. This is my ultimate dream.”

United Director Ed Woodward was full of praise when asked about his new manager.

“Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves,” Woodward told the British press. “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. This all means that he is the right person to take Manchester United forward.”

Now Solskjær can look forward to an intense Premier League finish and a quarter-final in Champions League before the summer’s transfer market opens and Solskjær gets his first opportunity to make his own mark on the Manchester United squad.


Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.

This article originally appeared in the April 19, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.