LONDON (Reuters) – Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to Old Trafford as caretaker manager until the end of the season, the Premier League club said yesterday.
United sacked manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday after the sixth-placed side made their worst start to a season for 28 years, culminating in a limp 3-1 loss to bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Norway international Solskjaer scored 126 goals for United from 1996-2007, often deployed as an impact sub with his most memorable contribution coming in the 1999 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich when he netted an injury-time winner.
“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” the 45-year-old former Cardiff City manager said in a statement.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club.”
Solskjaer will be joined by Mike Phelan, who returns as assistant manager, having previously working alongside Sir Alex Ferguson for five seasons before leaving in 2013.
Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, both part of Mourinho’s backroom staff, will be retained at the club to work under Solskjaer, who won six Premier League titles and two FA Cups to go along with the 1999 Champions League triumph at United.
“Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said.
“His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back.
“We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”
United face Solskjaer’s former side Cardiff in a Premier League clash on Saturday, the Norwegian coming up against a club he managed for nine months in 2014, during which time they were relegated from the top flight.
The former striker’s appointment received the high-profile approval of Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who tweeted: “FINALLY CONFIRMED! Great day for Norwegian football. Good luck keeping control of the Red Devils, @olegs26_ole” Following the loss to league leaders Liverpool, Manchester United (26 points) sit 19 points adrift of their rivals after 17 matches and 11 behind fourth-placed Chelsea.