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Beckham, others welcome Solskjaer as replacement for Mourinho

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 05, 2015 Molde FK’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches his players during the UEFA Europa League Group A football match between Celtic and Molde FK at Celtic Park, in Glasgow, Scotland. – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was on December 19, 2018 named as Manchester United’s caretaker manager until the end of the 2018/19 season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. Solskjaer will take charge of the first team with immediate effect and will remain in place while the club looks for a new full-time manager. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)

Oleunnar Solskjaer has been appointed Manchester United’s interim manager, returning toOld Trafford ‘on loan’ fromNorwegian club Molde until the end of the season.

The Old Trafford legend replaces Jose Mourinho after thePortuguese boss was sacked on Tuesday morning.

Solskjaer is plucked from obscure Norwegian club to replace Mourinho, hours after the Special One ate a tearful last supper and settled £500k hotel bill.

The 45-year-old said that he would return to Molde, whose league campaign begins at the end of March,when his duties at United are complete.

Solskjaer said on Molde’s website: ‘In football you never know what can happen. We get proof of time after time. This is an opportunity I had to take. I am looking forward to leadingManchester United until the summer.

“At the same time, I will follow closely what is happening here at home. We have built stone for stone and the end of the season this year gives us hope for another good season.

“Erling, Trond and PerMagne will do a lot of work while I’m gone. At the same time, I would like to thank the club, and Kjell Inge and Bjorn Rune once again congratulate me on [joining]the world’s biggest club.’

He will be joined by Mike Phelan as first-team coach,also working alongsideMichael Carrick and Kieran McKenna.

Phelan has been working as sporting director at Australian club Central Coast Mariners, who represents bottom of the A-League.

Solskjaer and Phelan weredue to arrive at United’s Carrington training complex yesterday afternoon to meet the squad and staff for the first time.

His first match in charge will be on Saturday againstCardiff, whom he had an unsuccessful spell in charge of between January and September in 2014.

“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant tobe coming back in this role.I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club,’ said Solskjaer inUnited’s club statement.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward added in the club’s announcement: ‘Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles.

“His history at ManchesterUnited means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him andMike Phelan back. We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.’

Molde chief executive Oystein Neerland said: ‘That Manchester United ask Molde to lend the manager is by itself an event, and not least a statement of trust for both Ole Gunnar and Molde.

“We are positive to lend Ole Gunnar, we wish both him and the club a success.

“This is a big opportunity for Molde, we think it will be developing and helping to put Molde further on the football map.’
Solskjaer scored 126 goals in 366 appearances forUnited during 11 seasons at the club.

He is married to Silje and the pair have three sons,Noah, Karna and Elijah. It isn’t clear whether they will move back to England with him.

United appeared to accidentally confirm the appointment on Tuesday evening, when videos on their official website included taglines naming theNorwegian as their temporary boss.

Solskjaer’s appointment asManchester United’s interim manager effectively sees him being loaned byNorwegian club Molde.

The former United striker has not left his post with Molde and will return there when his duties with United are complete in May.

At present, it is the off-season in Norway with the new season scheduled to begin at the end of March.

It means Solskjaer will miss the first six or seven weeks of the Norwegian season before returning there.

This is a highly unusual situation in football. Typically interim managers have no other active positions at other clubs.

After their visit to Cardiff this Saturday, United have winnable fixtures againstHuddersfield Town,Bournemouth andNewcastle United over the festive period.

Solskjaer’s former United team-mate David Beckham was one of the first to congratulate him on his appointment.

Beckham posted a picture of Solskjaer in a United shirton his Instagram stories with the message ‘GoodLuck Ole’.

Solskjaer was also congratulated on his appointment at United by the NorwegianPrime Minister Erna Solberg.

United paid £1.5m to bring Solskjaer, then largely unknown, from Molde during the EuropeanChampionship in 1996.

Initially expected to provide back-up to strikers Eric Cantona and Andrew Cole, Solskjaer quickly established himself and scored 19goals in his first season atOld Trafford.

Solskjaer often performed the ‘super sub’ role without complaint, especially during the 1998-99 Treble campaign when his impact fromthe bench often won United crucial points.

The goal that would come to define his career and ensure legendary status atUnited came in the dying moments of the 1999 Champions League final with Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp.

Having trailed into the final minute, United turned the game around in stunning fashion, with Solskjaer extending his leg to divert home Teddy Sheringham’s flick-on and complete theTreble.

He continued to be an important part of AlexFerguson’s forward line fora number of seasons before leaving the club in 2007.

Phelan has been working as sporting director at theCentral Coast Mariners butthe Australian club endorsed his decision to take on the United role.

‘Taking on a temporary coaching role atManchester United is extremely exciting,’ Phelan said. ‘It’s also a really positive step for the Mariners to have a direct link withManchester United as I will continue my role asSporting Director.

‘I’m still a Mariner. I’ve put something in place that I want to see through. This might be a small distraction, but it’s with one of the biggest clubs in the world that I simply couldn’t turndown.

‘I was offered the opportunity at the Mariners to pass on my experiences and wisdom in order to develop the football club back into the football club that it once was. A football club that produces players for theMariners and beyond.

‘It’s an exciting project,that’s my remit and we’ve put a structure in place with full time academy coaches that will ensure that we are prepared for success.

‘Part of the discussion with Manchester United was that I will still be available for the Mariners, this is a dual role. I will take the first opportunity possible to get back to the CentralCoast. I’m not going anywhere, I am one phone call away from anyone at theMariners.

‘I will be back on theCentral Coast as soon as I can. There’s obviously a few issues to sort through at Manchester United which will take time, but once we’ve worked through that I look forward to getting back to theCentral Coast,’ Phelan said.

It came as Mourinho held an emotional ‘last supper’amid tearful scenes and hugs at the Lowry Hotel,where he has been in residence since arriving atUnited two-and-a-half years ago.

Fresh from his sacking,the former ManchesterUnited boss drove to the iconic city centre landmark he had called home for close to 900 days to pick up his belongings and settle his account.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, told Sportsmail that Mourinho had a final meal at lunchtime in the bar of theManchester hotel when here turned from Carrington,to end a stay lasting two years and five months and costing £500,000.

They added: ‘It looked like he was doing his paperwork, having a snack and saying his goodbyes.

‘He made a point of seeking some people out and it looked like he was in good spirits.

‘A lot of the staff appeared to be upset and a couple went in for a hug.’

Mourinho is understood to have settled his room service charges on a weekly basis during his lengthy stay in one of the upmarket hotel’s six, plushRiverside Suites.

After United picked up the tab for his first few months in the suite which can cost £816 a night, the Portuguese negotiated his own special rate and became well known to staff, many of whom were said to be ‘heartbroken’ at news of his sacking.

There are also set to be sad faces at Brazilian restaurant Bem Brasil and at Juan Mata’s nearbySpanish eaterie Tapeo. Mourinho was a fan of both and would head there on rare jaunts into the city centre itself.

Beckham, others welcome Solskjaer as replacement for Mourinho

Solskjaer celebrates after scoring a last-minute winner against Liverpool in a 1999 FA Cup clash

Jose Mourinho says goodbye to a member of staff at the Lowry Hotel, where he has stayed since arriving at United two-and-a-half years ago Photos: dailymail.co.uk


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