LONDON – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday he had already been taking advice from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson since moving into the hot seat at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian replaced Jose Mourinho, who was sacked on Tuesday, signing a short-term deal to the end of the season as caretaker manager.
Solskjaer met the United squad for the first time on Thursday, and at his first press conference on Friday, revealed that Ferguson has already been in his ear.
“He’s influenced me with everything,” Solskjaer said.
“The way he’s dealt with people, the way he was manager of the club. How he kept 25 international players happy and hungry, wanting to improve, but also the staff in and around the place.
“He’s been my mentor... ever since my injury in 2003 at least, I was making all the notes about what he did at different, certain situations.
“And of course, I have already been in touch with him because there’s no one to get better advice from.”
One of Solskjaer’s biggest tasks will be to keep a big squad of internationals happy.
Mourinho’s uneasy relationship with World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba was well-documented, and Solskjaer said he will do his best to understand everyone’s needs.
“I will help the players, make them grasp the opportunity,” he said.
“It is down to man-management, and I had the best manager as a player and coach and learnt how he deals with people.
“It’s about communication. I will speak to the ones not playing and say what I expect of them.
“When you are at Manchester United, there are a set of demands – standards expected. One has to be a team player.”
The former United striker, who scored the winning goal for the club in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, said he will “have an input” in transfer targets in the January transfer window.
With United in sixth place in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and 11 behind the top four, United need points fast if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Solskjaer said his first aim was to instil a sense of his style on the players.
“I want to get the players to understand how I want to play, then let’s take the results after that and see how many points we can gather,” he said.
“This club has made up many points before, but I will not set a target now. We will go game by game.”
And Solskjaer said he was not thinking yet of taking the job fulltime, even if it was one he would love. “My job is for the next six months. I will do as well as I can, to move the club forward as well as I can,” he said.
“So many managers would love to be manager of Manchester United, I am one of them, but it is not something I have talked about.
“There is a process for the next six months.”dpa