Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Cardiff City hire former Man Utd striker as boss

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed Cardiff City's new manager.

The 40-year-old former Manchester United striker has agreed a 12-month rolling contract with the Bluebirds.

'A gamble for both parties'

"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is taking a gamble with his reputation, from master goalscorer, winner of six Premier League titles and scorer of a Champions League-winning goal with Manchester United in 1999 to life now as a coach and manager. He is still in his infancy as a boss but he will know careers can be set back by one unwise choice, one unwitting step into the wrong environment."

Solskjaer, who met his new squad at the club's training ground on Thursday, joins from Molde, whom he led to two Norwegian league titles and a cup win.

"It is a fantastic challenge. Cardiff are ready to take the next step up. I hope I can help them," said Solskjaer, who replaces the sacked Malky Mackay.

"I've always dreamt of being a manager in the Premier League and I'm delighted to get the opportunity.

"I am really looking forward to convincing the Cardiff fans that I am the right man to take them forward.

"I will try to convince the fans with my hard work, loyalty and my brand of football. I'm a very positive manager."

Cardiff, who were beaten 2-0 by Premier League leaders Arsenal on Wednesday, are 17th in the table and only one point clear of the relegation zone.

Solskjaer's first game in charge will be against Newcastle in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Norwegian will be given significant funds by owner Vincent Tan to spend on new signings in the current transfer window.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer profile

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with United
  • 1973: Born 26 February in Kristiansund, Norway
  • 1995: Joins Molde from Clausenengen FK and scores 20 goals in 26 games
  • 1996: Joins Manchester United for £1.5m and scores on his debut against Blackburn at Old Trafford
  • 1996-97: Finishes his first season as United's top league scorer with 18 goals
  • 1999: Scores injury-time winner at the Nou Camp to beat Bayern Munich and win the Champions League
  • 2007: Retires from playing in August and, soon afterwards, becomes reserve team manager
  • 2010: Appointed Molde manager, ending a 14-year tie with Old Trafford
  • 2011: Leads Molde to their first league title in 100 years in his debut season
  • 2012: Helps Molde retain their league title

He dismissed speculation that he would find it difficult working for an owner who reportedly meddled in team affairs during Mackay's reign.

Solskjaer added: "He wants the club to be successful. I had a good meeting with him. Communication and dialogue will be key.

"Everything isn't exactly what it seems from the outside."

The Norwegian will return to Old Trafford on 28 January with his new club 10 days after playing Manchester City at Etihad Stadium.

"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."

He rejected reports his former boss at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, had told him to turn down the chance to become Cardiff's third manager in 32 months.

"That is absolute nonsense," said Solskjaer. "He has wished me the best and given me some good advice as he always does. I had a good conversation with him."

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman insisted the Norwegian was the club's only target.

He said: "There was only one name in my head from the very beginning. We're delighted to welcome Ole.

"I've seen Ole play for many, many years. I like his style of football and his ideas on the game."

Former Manchester United and Sheffield United midfielder Mark Dempsey will work as his assistant - just as he did at Molde.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) and Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman

Solskjaer, who scored the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999, made 366 appearances for Manchester United and scored 126 goals.

He also won six Premier League titles and two FA Cups during 11 years at Old Trafford from 1996.

After ending his playing career in 2007, Solskjaer took charge of United's reserve team for two-and-a-half years before guiding Molde to their first Norwegian league title in 100 years in 2011.

He successfully led Molde's defence of their title as his managerial success attracted the attention of Premier League clubs.

Cardiff's next six games

4 January: Newcastle (A) (FA Cup)

11 January: West Ham (H)

18 January: Manchester City (A)

28 January: Manchester United (A)

1 February: Norwich (H)

8 February: Swansea (A)

Premier League unless stated

Molde could only finish sixth behind champions Stromgodset this season, but they did beat Rosenborg in November to take the Norwegian Football Cup for the third time in their history.

Solskjaer held talks with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner in May 2012 following the sacking of Alex McLeish, but the man who earned the nickname "the baby-faced assassin" opted to remain with Molde because he was reluctant to uproot his wife Silje and three children from Norway.

He was also a candidate to replace Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship last season.

Solskjaer becomes the fourth Norwegian to take charge of an English league club, following Egil Olsen at Wimbledon in 1999, Stale Solbakken at Wolves in 2012 and Henning Berg at Blackburn in 2012.