Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is convinced he and his coaching staff have the faith of managerial legend Alex Ferguson because they are “Manchester United through and through”.
Solskjaer has enjoyed a strong start to life back at United since being installed as caretaker manager, replacing the sacked Jose Mourinho.
United have won all three games under Solskjaer’s guidance, scoring 12 goals in the process, but perhaps the biggest difference is the free-flowing, attacking football on display.
Some fans argue United have not played with such freedom and attacking sharpness since the immensely successful Ferguson brought an end to his 26-and-a-half-year tenure in 2013.
The shadow of Ferguson has loomed large during the respective reigns of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, but there is a more familiar look to those leading United at the moment, with Solskjaer joined by Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Mark Dempsey.
“I’ve had him [as a direct influence] for 15 years, so obviously he’s influenced me in the 15 years before [more] than he has in the last week,” Solskjaer told reporters.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 31, 2018
“But obviously I do keep him informed, and he did pay us a visit. I think he enjoyed his time on the training ground, and we had a nice few chats, us and the staff.
“He encouraged us, he knows that we – the staff I’ve got – are Manchester United through and through.
“He knows that we will do whatever we can, up until the last second we’re here, for us and Manchester United to do the best we can.”
Despite Solskjaer’s strong start, some pundits have been keen to temper the excitement, pointing out that his three opponents – Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth – have been modest.
The Norwegian – whose only previously Premier League managerial experience came in an ill-fated spell at Cardiff – accepts he has no idea if he truly belongs at United’s level, but he is adamant his familiarity with the club counts for something.
“I don’t know if I’m at home at this level, but I’m home at this club,” he said.
“That’s the thing, I’ve spent 15 years here, and seeing all these people when you walk through the corridors here, it’s me and I’m comfortable in the environment.
“So, it’s up to you [the media] to probably rate me if I’m up to the level, but I’m definitely enjoying my time back home.”
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