There really wasn’t any other choice, was there?
Just over three months after being appointed caretaker manager after the departure of Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been officially named permanent Manchester United manager, signed to a three-year contract, the club announced on Thursday morning.
“This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long term,” Solskjaer said in the official club release. “From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club. It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here. The last few months have been a fantastic experience.”
Since Solskjaer took over, Manchester United has experienced a remarkable turnaround. Mourinho was fired on the heels of a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool with the club on a run of just one win in its last six league matches. The Red Devils had just seven wins in seventeen league matches and sat sixth in the Premier League table, staring at an 11-point gap between them and the top four.
Since, they have won a whopping 10 of 13 in league play including a win over Tottenham and a draw with leaders Liverpool, moving them to fifth and sitting just two points back of fourth-placed Arsenal. He won his first six Premier League matches in charge – a club record – and went 12 Premier League matches unbeaten until a loss to the Gunners last time out. Solskjaer also masterminded a Champions League turnaround that saw them overcome a 2-0 first-leg defeat at home to Paris Saint-Germain, winning 3-1 on the road in the French capital to advance to the quarterfinal round.
“Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves,” said club chairman Ed Woodward. “More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.”
Fans have also taken to Solskjaer not just for the results but also his Manchester United roots. As an 11-year player at the club, Solskjaer knows the club well and has used that to his advantage, repeatedly bringing up club history and club lore during interviews or harkening back to Manchester United players and managers of the past.
While Solsjkaer’s old club Molde originally claimed the Norwegian was being “leant” to Manchester United, they have conceded his departure in exchange for a “gesture of good will” in the form of a payment and/or future friendly.