Soccer

Solskjaer’s texts and advice from Sir Alex when Man Utd boss needed support most

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed incredible insight into the assistance Sir Alex Ferguson gave him during his early days as Manchester United manager in a new book called The First 100 Days: Lessons In Leadership From The Football Bosses.

The book – co-written by Dundee United manager Micky Mellon and school head teacher Phil Denton – explores how key the first 100 days is for a manager at a new club with insight from Solskjaer, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Sean Dyche and more.

Daily Star Sport has the following extract on Solskjaer and Ferguson below.

Before Ole there had been a manager for 26 years in Sir Alex Ferguson.

Since Sir Alex had retired there had been three managers in six years: David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

Ole quickly assessed the situation he had inherited. ‘It was a bit like going to Waitrose or Tesco. You spend 90 quid or 100 quid. Then you get home and try to make a meal but you’ve just got a bit of everything instead of what you need to make a good meal.


'When I arrived, some of the players had been here since Sir Alex, then David (Moyes) had signed a few, then Van Gaal signed a few, then Mourinho signed a few and they’ve all got different styles.’

The meal that Ole and Mick wanted to cook up did not have the ingredients they needed. That is not to say the ingredients or the previous chefs were at fault.

However, Ole recognised that to achieve the cultural blend he desired on the pitch, he was not starting with the ingredients he needed.

‘Our group had so many different strengths but not many were what we would think of as Manchester United players.

'These are players that have pace, power and personality.


'We’re influenced by Sir Alex and that’s what our opinion of a Manchester United player is.’

They would quickly set about assessing who would be part of this realignment and turnaround for the short, medium and long-term.

After a packed first day [in the job] which culminated in Ole Gunnar Solskjær visiting the staff Christmas party, Day 2 would be no less intense for one of the highest-profile managerial roles in the football world.

On 21st December, 2018, United travelled to their team hotel near Cardiff in preparation for their first game under the stewardship of Solskjaer.


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  • The first day had been a roaring success and the love for Ole around the club was tangible.

    The question was, how would that translate to the players’ performance on the pitch?

    ‘I got a text from the manager (Sir Alex) who said: ‘Pick your team and sleep well.’ I sent him the players I was picking and I just got a message back: ‘That’ll do the job.’

    The very next day, it took only three minutes for a new-look United to race into a 1-0 lead. ‘Marcus crashed that free-kick home in three minutes and the whole thing felt like it had changed,’ said Ole. ‘We just went 4-3-3 and told the players to be free and express themselves.’


    Eventually, United would run out 5-1 winners away from home. It was a sensational start that showed a belief from the players and a joy that their new manager had a faith in them and a love for the club that they could now represent as a team.

    The ovation from the crowd showed that United’s huge away following emphatically approved of their new manager.

    He had shown from Day 1 that he was one of them and he stood for what they believed in. Early on the 23rd December, the day after the big win at Cardiff, Ole received the ultimate accolade via a text message. ‘I’ve been out all night celebrating getting my club back.’

    The sender? Solskjær’s mentor, father in football and United legend, Sir Alex Ferguson.

    The First 100 Days: Lessons In Leadership From The Football Bosses by Micky Mellon and Phil Denton, published by Reach Sport, is on sale March 25th. Save 25% from reachsportshop: https://reachsportshop.com/book/the-first-100-days-lessons-in-leadership-from-the-football-bosses/

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