Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed he wanted Jude Bellingham at Manchester United


Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “You start to miss it [professional football] when you see the games, either in person or on television. Since I left #mufc, I’ve travelled around as a fan with my kids, going to places like Napoli, Milan and Dortmund to experience games. We loved it.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “My role with UEFA means watching Champions League matches in person. I can watch teams from a different perspective than being a manager: analyse them, solve problems, see how both teams will try to hurt each other.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on if he wants to manage again: “Yes, and I’ve had offers. Most recently, two from Saudi Arabia. My best mate, who is also my agent, sifts through them. If you’ve managed #mufc, you put your own criteria about what you want to work with.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “The DNA and identity of the club are important, a club where I can be the best me. It has to be a match. Maybe I made the wrong decision to go to Cardiff, for example, where there was a clash of identities and styles.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “What I miss most is working with good people, coming in every day, discussing football and putting a plan together for the next game. It’s not just about formations, but creating a culture where the staff enjoy their job and building a team together.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on managing #mufc: “Well, there’s something missing: a trophy. One penalty could have changed that [in the shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final] and my time there would be viewed differently.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Trophies are important, but it was also important to lay the foundation of good performances. We managed to do that for a long time, consistently. Ultimately, that’s not good enough, but the remit I was given was to get fans smiling again and we had something going. We were top of the league in September 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo came in, and Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho joined.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “And we’d gone strong by signing these players. It was about taking the next step to challenge for the title. And, unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.” 


Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Cristiano Ronaldo returning to #mufc: “It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Cristiano Ronaldo: “It felt so right when he signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game, when Old Trafford was rocking (after Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 win). He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “When I looked at the fixtures it was going to be a deciding period: Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, and Leicester away. Then Chelsea and Arsenal, plus Champions League games. Things went against us. It started with Aston Villa at home [a 1-0 defeat] and a late penalty miss.” 

🚨 Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “When you have a group you need everyone to pull in the same direction. When things didn’t go right, you could see certain players and egos came out. We beat Tottenham convincingly 3-0 away, but then we lost two games.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Nobody told me, but I knew at half-time against Watford [a 4-1 defeat in November 2021] We didn’t look like a #mufc team; the players weren’t running for each other. At half-time, I told the players it was probably going to be the last time we worked together and to play with pride. We almost turned it around, until Harry Maguire got sent off.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “I got a text message the next morning from Ed Woodward saying he needed to see me in his office at Carrington. That was pretty hard when you’ve been at the club for 18 years with all those good and bad times.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “I’d had lots of backing and good times with Ed. He’d given me the chance and for that, I’ll always be grateful. I dropped my family at the airport before the text arrived. After the text, I told my wife that I might be back in Norway before her.”…

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on the day he got sacked: “It was an emotional day. Very emotional. I didn’t think it would be, but it was like leaving your family. I wanted to speak to all the players and say goodbye. I spoke to the coaches and the staff. Then I went back to an empty house.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on his goodbye video: “I didn’t want not to say goodbye to fans who’d treated me so well, fans who felt like family. Doing the video felt like the right thing to do.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Not angry. Not bitter. Disappointed. I’d not managed to do my dream job as I’d hoped. I’d gone in to do a job for six months and enjoy it. I certainly did, especially that win at Paris Saint-Germain [a stunning 3-1 away win in the Champions League last 16 in March 2019 to reach the quarter-finals].” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “And there were some great moments when I got the job permanently. The wins at City away, beating City at home with Scott McTominay scoring with the last kick before the lockdown. I’ve never felt Old Trafford rocking like that. The fans stayed behind for ages.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “As it happens, that was the last time they’d be in the stadium for many months. Another win at PSG. Staying unbeaten away from home for so long. It’s not easy to go 29 away league games unbeaten.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Empty stadiums actually helped us in some ways as we could coach during the matches. Those City and Liverpool teams were the best that their clubs, with fantastic managers, have ever had. I know that’s a bold statement because Liverpool were so good in the ’80s, but they were a fantastic side under Jurgen Klopp.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “In my last season, we played Liverpool at home. I felt the players were ready for it, just like I’d felt they were ready when we’d gone to City and won. We could have sat back and countered but my decision was to go for it. We lost 5-0. It was 50/50, more or less, in possession and chances at half-time, yet we were 4-0 down.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “I made the wrong decision and that was my lowest point as #mufc manager by a mile. Roberto Firmino was probably the opposition player who caused me the most problems as a manager. The 6-1 defeat at home to Spurs was different and affected by a sending-off.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on if the #mufc job is impossible: “No, but it’s difficult, especially for managers following one of the best managers ever. The expectations are very high but we can’t live in the same era as when I played. We had Arsenal and Chelsea as rivals towards the…

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Back then, Wayne and Cristiano were the best young players and we signed them. Now, #mufc can’t just go and buy Evan Ferguson. We couldn’t buy the players I mentioned to the club.”

Ole on who he wanted at #mufc: “Erling Haaland, before he made his Salzburg debut. Declan Rice, who wouldn’t have cost what he did in the summer. We discussed Moises Caicedo, but we felt we needed players ready for there and then. Brighton are very good at letting players come from abroad and find their feet for a year and a half. At United, you don’t have that luxury and that has cost the club loads of players.”

🚨 Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “We wanted Jude Bellingham badly — he’s a #mufc player, but I respect he chose Dortmund. That was probably sensible. But it’s why I respect Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James and Jadon. Young players prepared to come into a team that wasn’t 100 per cent there like it was when I arrived.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “I would have signed Kane every day of the week and my understanding was that he wanted to come. But the club didn’t have the budget with the financial constraints from Covid-19, there was no bottomless pit.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Ralf Rangnick: “The club he found in November 2021 was different from September 2021. I told him when I gave my opinion on every player. Things had soured, the collective had been lost and that’s not #mufc, where teams are built on the collective.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Some players felt they should’ve played more and weren’t constructive to the environment. That’s a huge sin for me. When I didn’t start games I wanted to prove to the manager he’d made the wrong decision.”

Ole: “Now, a lot of players aren’t like that. Agents and family members get into their heads and tell them they’re better than they are because they have a vested interest. It’s a disease of modern football.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “We had a great group to work with by the end of the 2020-21 season. We got to the FA Cup semi-final in 2020 and the Europa League final in 2021.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Villarreal under Unai Emery were hard to break down. I’ve not watched it back.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: Not that one. Or Liverpool, Spurs or Watford. No chance. I watched the rest, we were a decent side. But I should have started or at least brought on Nemanja Matic against Villarreal. That game was for him. I didn’t choose him because I felt others deserved it.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on his best signings: “Bruno Fernandes came straight in and lifted the team. Harry Maguire – it’s a disgrace that he’s getting so much abuse. I feel sorry for him, but he’s a strong lad and I hope it turns for him. He raised our defence big time when he arrived and lifted the mood around the place. I can’t remember every signing I made, but I should because there was a cap on three main ones every season.”

Ole on who put the cap on: “I signed up for it when I arrived. I understood my remit and agreed to it. I can’t complain now and I’m not the type to moan after losing my job, but #mufc have spent a lot more in the two summer transfer windows since I was there.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Some weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves. I won’t name names, but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain. I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “There was stuff in the media after I left about how I treated some players, which were complete lies, but I had a solid, honest relationship with most of them.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Ten Hag: “I know what he’s going through. It’s a dream job, but it’s difficult. You’re dealing with humans with all their problems and backgrounds — this isn’t a computer simulation. But most are good professionals who want to do well. Some think about No 1 first, most think of the club.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on the Glazers: “In my conversations with them, they were honest and upfront. I had to be patient and mentally strong — and I was. And they’ve backed the manager now.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on how he felt when the group of fans turned up at the training ground to protest about the Glazers: “It was their right — and I went to speak to them. Security didn’t want me to, but I wanted to go and speak to them. I listened and I felt we had a good conversation.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Speaking to fans is part of being #mufc manager. You’re encouraged to have security around you but I didn’t feel comfortable with that and usually wanted to be on my own.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “I’ve not been back much since the whole family moved to Norway last year. People give me the thumbs-up in Manchester, though they’re more likely to do that in real life. It’s easier to say, “You’re s***” when you’re anonymous behind a keyboard.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “Apart from Watford away, I can’t remember any negativity at games, bar the odd comment. At Watford, I went to the away end after and remember thinking, “I really don’t have the backing of all of them”. Bruno was there too, but I knew I was finished.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on if he wanted Jadon Sancho: “Yes, I wanted to sign him. #mufc will never sign a player the manager doesn’t want. That’s not the case everywhere. Jadon was put up as the No 1 target for the right wing by the scouts and when you look at his talent, I could see why.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on Jadon Sancho: “Unfortunately, it has not worked out. When he arrived, he had to go to hospital and that was a setback as he couldn’t start the first games. He’s immensely talented and we haven’t seen the best of him. I hope we do, but he prefers to play left wing… where Marcus plays.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær on the managerial cycle at #mufc: “Let’s hope Erik is successful and if there is a cycle, that he breaks it. Someone is going to do it.”

 

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