Glad to see you’ve been noting and studying their recent history.
Alice will like that.
Glad to see you’ve been noting and studying their recent history.
Alice will like that.
I did my GCSEs in 99 thankfully meant very little contact eith the pricks at school at the end of that season, I think the final took place on the evening of my last exam
I did too, but went back to start my A-levels. Plus there were plenty of dickhead United supporters knocking about where i grew up. I dropped out of my a-levels halfway through what used to be known as lower sixth form, then went to the tech for a popular music HND, and none of those people were even remotely into football. Thank fuck.
Ah I went into doing computing and they were all Evertonians
Q:Do you want to manage again?
Ole: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 Man United, you put your own criteria about what you want to work with.
I love England and the Premier League. Even the Championship feels stronger than ever, but I don’t feel bound to England. Maybe a different challenge where I need to experience a new culture and learn a new language.
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.
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.
Q:Nearly two years after leaving, how do feel about your time managing United now?
Ole: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.
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.
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.
Q:There’s a perception among fans and some media that Ronaldo ruined your team, that he was a vanity buy by Ed Woodward. What’s the truth about his arrival and how you found him to work with?
Ole:It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong. 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.
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.
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…
Q:You lost five league games from seven that autumn. Did you feel you were going to lose your job?
Ole:Nobody told me, but I knew at half-time against Watford (a 4-1 defeat in November 2021). We didn’t look like a Man United 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
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.
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.
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.
Q:Were you angry? Did you feel let down by your players?
Ole: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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made the wrong decision and that was my lowest point as United 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.
Q:Is the United job impossible?
Ole: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 end. Now, most teams have money or even if they don’t, they don’t need to sell.
Back then, Wayne and Cristiano were the best young players and we signed them. Now, United can’t just go and buy Evan Ferguson. We couldn’t buy the players I mentioned to the club.
It’s an interesting interview. He’s not burning any bridges in it although he nearly says that Ronaldo fucked him over. I’m not sure about his assessment of that 5-0 game being so even in the first half. I seem to recall that the main reason Liverpool were losing possession is because they’d just buried it in their net.
Yeah, same here. I actually think they were more convincing in their 7:0 defeat to us (at least until they conceded the first goal). Solskjaer is offering up a lot of excuses for his time there, though I respect him for clearly loving that club and being graceful about them instead of telling everything it like it is - they have money to burn (and they’ve burnt it on wrong signings, at least I hope so) and they have more egos than just Ronaldo.
In fairness they were doing pretty well with him at one point. They ran out of steam (possibly due to the large number of games) and didn’t win anything in the end but they were close.
I do wonder whether they would have performed better under him if he had been able to get shut of Ronaldo. Obviously, the fact that he didn’t cope with that is also indicative of why he may have struggled to contain others.
That was largely due to the more than generous penalty decisions they benefitted from rather than a shift in quality of performance though.
Hoping for serious punishment tonight, they’re going to get thrashed with a Kane for signing the wrong striker.
Bayern are overrated too.
Yes but they’re not a national laughing stock.
They were destroyed in that 5-0.
So his assessment is bollocks as others have said the 7-0 was probably less convincing.
Having watched both games without knowing the goals scored I’d have said the first was the one we had won 7-0, I’d be surprised about that second one as I felt the first half was even. The second we destroyed them, was nowhere in that 5-0 I felt Man Utd even threatened us, we went 2-0 and then let them try and attack us and I think they had one chance before we then finished them off before half time.
We are probably overthinking it, really. In the end we are discussing whether or not a 5-0 (or a 7-0) was convincing, are we not?
What I find fascinating is how much is said in that interview without ever actually saying anything. It is possible to think this is a carefully crafted interview to get his name out there and being conscious of not pissing on people’s chips. The more likely explanation though is the vapidity of his responses about key situations reveal the level of his thinking into them.
“Ronaldo was a great opportunity but it went wrong”. Well, no shit, but why? This is a completely meaningless comment without any conversation about what happened to make it be wrong. The interview is just full of these sorts of empty observations.
Just calling out that he is a shit manager and his assessments are shit.
Molde was about his level.
His undying faith in Maguire too and perhaps their keeper who for the life of me I can’t remember how to spell his name.
ETH’s only progress for me is dropping Maguire and shipping Ronaldo. Ronaldo also got more playing time than he deserved as well from memory. There’s a growing case that those things have not been enough now.
I’ll draw a comparison with Klopp for a laugh but the first thing he did was completely change the attitude of the squad. ETH hasn’t done that.
German commentator for the Union/Real game: ‘Stay tuned after this match, the biggest soap opera in England is coming to Munich’