Manchester United Appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Interim Boss for Rest of Season

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

Molde FK´s headcoach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after the UEFA Champions League third round, second leg qualifying football match between Molde FK and Hibernian at the Aker Stadium in Molde, Norway, on August 16, 2018. (Photo by Svein Ove Ekornesvaag / NTB SCANPIX / AFP) / Norway OUT        (Photo credit should read SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAAG/AFP/Getty Images)
SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAAG/Getty Images

Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of former Red Devils star Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their interim manager for the rest of the season.

United announced Solskjaer's appointment in a statement on Wednesday, a day after they parted company with Jose Mourinho.

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

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward added: 

"Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles. 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."

The Red Devils seemed to accidentally announce the former Norway international would take over on their website on Tuesday night before deleting the post, per the Press Association's Simon Peach:

Solskjaer managed Molde in his native Norway, but they have finished the 2018 season and won't resume playing again until the end of March.

The 45-year-old spent 11 years at Old Trafford between 1996 and 2007, scoring 126 goals in 366 appearances. In that time, he won six Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup twice.

He has inherited a United side that sit sixth in England's top flight, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and 11 points off the top four. The Red Devils also have a goal difference of zero, having scored and conceded 29 goals—more than they shipped in the entirety of last season—in 17 matches.

Solskjaer's only senior coaching experience aside from Molde—where he was in his second spell—was an unsuccessful stint at Cardiff City

Football writer Sam Pilger and Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News are not convinced he's the right man to bring a successful end to United's season:

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette and sports writer Daniel Harris are pleased with his appointment, though:

While he may not have had much success as a coach at the top level, Solskjaer's presence in the dugout at Old Trafford could unite the supporters and have a transformative effect on the negative atmosphere that surrounded the club during the final months of Mourinho's reign.

He will hope to oversee an improvement on the pitch as well, but it would take an enormous turnaround at this point—and for one or more of their rivals to collapse—for them to improve on a sixth-placed finish this season.

The real work in that department will be done by the club's next permanent manager, so there's relatively little pressure on Solskjaer.

That said, if he can get more from his playersthe likes of Paul Pogba in particularhe can lay some valuable groundwork for whoever comes in next summer.

Related

    United's Winners and Losers So Far This Season

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    United's Winners and Losers So Far This Season

    via men

    Ronaldo Has 'Minor' Thigh Injury

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ronaldo Has 'Minor' Thigh Injury

    Rory Marsden
    via Bleacher Report

    No Messi, No Party — Argentina Lose $500K for Morocco Game

    World Football logo
    World Football

    No Messi, No Party — Argentina Lose $500K for Morocco Game

    MARCA in English
    via MARCA in English

    'If Solskjaer Gets Man Utd Job I’ll Be Pleased'

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    'If Solskjaer Gets Man Utd Job I’ll Be Pleased'

    Goal
    via Goal