Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on managing Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson and his coaching philosophy
Man Utd host Bournemouth live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday
By Patrick Davison and Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 30/12/18 3:42pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat down with Sky Sports' Patrick Davison to chat managing Manchester United, the club's culture, Sir Alex Ferguson, and his coaching philosophy.
The former striker has taken caretaker charge of Manchester United after the departure of Jose Mourinho earlier this month and will stay in the role until the end of June, when the club are looking to appoint a permanent manager.
He has won his opening two games against Cardiff and Huddersfield and United host Bournemouth on Renault Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4.15pm, next.
Ahead of the game, Solskjaer sat down with Sky Sports reporter Davison to chat all things United. Read on to see what he had to say...
'I'm enjoying every minute'
It is really enjoyable. You're coming in and see these players here and the quality I have to work with, of course you have to enjoy it. I've got to say, I'm enjoying every single minute of it.
From Tuesday to Thursday when I met the boys for the first time, you're thinking 'how can I make an effect as quickly as possible' and you're excited because I only knew three or four of these lads personally. I've met most of them and said hi but I've got my own view. Me and Mike [Phelan] just quickly sat down together and spoke, we had a meeting on the first day and then onwards, you feel dead chilled.
Tactics is one side of it but we haven't changed many of the tactics. We've just asked them to go out and express themselves because we need to see what they're capable of as well for when we get to the bigger games. Tactically, we'll get time to work more, we get weeks now in January to work on the other side of it because it's all been about us in the first couple of games.
They've been games that we feel we can go and dominate and tweak it just a little bit defensively. No disrespect to those two teams that we've played, but now my job was to tell them about the mindset that Manchester United teams do have when they go into games.
A permanent role?
My job is for the next five months, because I'm going to leave them to someone else when they come in... That's the plan and that's what my job is at the moment, it runs out at the end of May - actually the end of June but we don't play many games in June - so my job is to affect the players on what it is all about at Manchester United.
Of course, results and all that stuff too but I have to make sure I guide them and help them so in a year or two when I sit down and see these players perform again and keep winning trophies, I might feel a part of this.
You're always ambitious of course, but as I've told Ed [Woodward] and the owners, I'm here to do as well and I can and if in May, you decide someone else will be coming in, then fantastic and if you decide it's me, I'm sure we will agree.
'Sir Alex will sit in the chair'
In a sense it is strange being in Sir Alex's role, because when you go into the corridor and knock on his door, he's in the chair. Now, I'm in it. Whenever he's visiting us, he'll be sitting in that chair I reckon because you never think differently about the boss. He's what I've always had as my boss and he's the one you look up to and once in a while ask a question or for advice.
"You're always ambitious of course, but as I've told Ed [Woodward] and the owners, I'm here to do as well and I can and if in May, you decide someone else will be coming in, then fantastic and if you decide it's me, I'm sure we will agree."
Ole Gunnar Soleskjaer on taking the Man Utd job permanently
'There is a culture here'
Obviously you speak about expectations, what standards we have at Manchester United on the pitch but there is also responsibility when you're a Manchester United player off the pitch. I'm not going to go into details but we have norms and there is a culture here. Sometimes the best rules are the ones that are written in the walls.
When you've got players pulling other players in line again when they step out of it, you've got two or three bearers of the culture who say 'we don't do that here, this is how we do things'. I know there is talk about a lack of leaders but there are players with real leadership in them.
Of course, when you look on the pitch, there are winners there. We've performed really well, all the front players have scored or assisted and created goals. We've done really well at the back, Phil [Jones] and Victor [Lindelof] have really played well together so it is looking good.
When you end up playing for Manchester United, that means somewhere along the line, you must've made a good decision to be the best you can be. No one will just float through life and end up at Manchester United. You've got to have discipline, of course the talent, and desire and the hunger inside you to become the best.
Then it's about making these remember how they got there, not being tainted by money or fame or whatever, it's football and that's their life until they walk out of these doors. When you're at Manchester United, you realise when you've finished playing - I did anyway - what a life it was.
They are a group of very, very good footballers. Some of them haven't really been at Manchester United long enough to know what it means to be here. We haven't looked back for one second. It's not about what's been going on because it doesn't matter. What matters now if that me, Mike, Michael [Carrick] and Kieran [McKenna] improve them team and then look like a team that we can be proud of when we end the season.
"Obviously you speak about expectations, what standards we have at Man Utd on the pitch but there is also responsibility when you're a Man Utd player off the pitch. I'm not going to go into details but we have norms and there is a culture here. Sometimes the best rules are the ones that are written in the walls."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the standards at Man Utd
'Players have to take responsibility'
There are different kinds of players. In your career, without having to take the responsibility at times, you won't know how good you can become because when you're in a team, it is easier to say 'well I'm in a good team here with good players so I'll let him have the responsibility'.
When you're in a team, it dilutes your sense of responsibility because you're with so many good players but in the end, when you walk out of the door, you think 'wow, I should have taken more responsibility'. The top players in a team take responsibility for their own performance and for the team, that we all have one goal together, and you can't just float through or you're out the door.
The Solskjaer philosophy
I've been here for 15 years before and of course my football philosophy is driven by what I experienced here. We do go and attack teams, try to dominate games and go into every game believing that we're going to win, although we respect the opposition of course.
It's not like we used to win 5-4 every time with the boss. When we had Jaap [Stam], Ronny [Johnsen], Rio [Ferdinand] and Vida [Nemanja Vidic] at the back, you knew that we could keep a clean sheet, so there is a fine balance there.
And I love seeing players express themselves. It probably comes down to that I experienced more in my football career than I ever believed so I want other players to have the same feeling when they've finished their careers - that means we need to win. We're going to enjoy it but you don't enjoy football if you don't win.
Football nowadays is leaning more and more towards a head coach because the structure is so different, there are so many more people involved. I think the days of the gaffer when he was in charge of absolutely everything, they are gone, but I do make the decisions in and around the place - small decisions, of course.
You've got directors of football and owners who really want an input on how the football should be played but I do call myself a manager still because I've got some great coaches so I don't really do too much of that coaching on the pitch.
If you're on the pitch every single day and the players get to hear your voice every single day, they get fed up. Less is more at times and I try to step back and observe, which I think is the key for me, because I'm going to make the decisions on who is playing, what tactics so you need time to reflect on that and not think about the session tomorrow or how certain things went.
'Always move onto the next one'
I've reflected throughout my career and you don't enjoy not winning. If you don't win, you're not happy and I'm not going to go and smile but if it doesn't matter in five years, why spend five or 10 minutes on being miserable? Move onto the next one. It's the same when you win, move onto the next one. It's history and you've got to make sure you're prepared for the next one.