Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Picture: REUTERS/SCOTT HAPPELL
Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Picture: REUTERS/SCOTT HAPPELL

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Molde’s owners hope he does not return to Norway, because they want him to  succeed in becoming Manchester United’s permanent manager.

Solskjaer is on loan to United for the remainder of the Premier League season, having been appointed caretaker on December 19, as replacement for the sacked Jose Mourinho.

United are seeking a permanent replacement for Mourinho, although an announcement is not expected until after the English domestic season ends in May.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is known to be a contender, while former France midfielder Zinedine Zidane, most recently Real Madrid’s manager, and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone are also among those who are being considered.

Solskjaer, who played for United  from 1996  to 2007, has made no secret of his desire to manage the club beyond the end of this season. He says he has the full support in that ambition of Norwegian businessmen Kjell Inge Rokke and Bjorn Rune Gjelsten, Molde’s joint owners.

Solskjaer said: “When I rang the owner and said that United had called and that he always knew that this had been my dream, he said, ‘Go over, enjoy yourself and please don’t come back’.

“Both owners wished me all the best because they knew this is something I dreamed about. To get the backing from them was fantastic. If I go back to Molde, I will do my best for them, but it depends when I go back.

“It’s been fantastic so far. Hopefully I will get to see my family soon, because that has been the only downside to the job.”

Solskjaer’s family have remained in Norway while he has been staying in Manchester and concentrating on reviving United’s fortunes. He won his first eight games in charge, something no previous United manager had achieved, before that run was ended with a 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Burnley last week.

Despite his short-term appointment, Solskjaer said the club  is consulting him about players  it is planning to sign at the end of the season. United made no signings during the January transfer window, deciding to wait to reinforce the squad.

“I have got to know the players, what potential they have, how far away they are from reaching that potential, and who we can build a team on, so of course I put my views into the club,” said the interim boss.

Solskjaer said he will be happy to continue advising United on potential signings even if the club appoints another manager for next season, believing his in-depth knowledge of the club’s culture puts him in a good position to judge which players would fit in at Old Trafford.

“It comes down to playing style, how we want to look in one or two years’ time, what kind of players we want and what kind of personalities we look for,” he said. “It’s about finding players with the right Manchester United identity and DNA.”

AFP