Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has changed the mood at Manchester United according to his former team-mate Laurent Blanc, who felt there was “no more fun” at Old Trafford during the closing days of Jose Mourinho’s reign.
Solskjaer was named United manager on a permanent basis last week following a superb run during his tenure as caretaker boss, which began in the aftermath of Mourinho’s December sacking.
The former United and Norway striker has been widely hailed for evoking the spirit of the club’s illustrious past under Alex Ferguson and Blanc believes the uplifting effect of the current feelgood factor at Old Trafford should not be underestimated.
Asked to identify the main difference between Mourinho and Solskjaer’s United tenures, former Red Devils centre-back Blanc told Omnisport: “A good mood.
“Okay football is work, training, but you have to try to do it in a good mood, with discipline of course, but players have to enjoy playing, winning, losing, training.
“I think for a while in Manchester, there was no more fun. In these cases, there’s always one person taking the blame, it’s the coach. This is what happened with Jose. Ole arrived, he’s doing things well, he’s bringing a new momentum.
“Fortunately, a good mood is not enough, but you need it. He knows the club very well, he played for it during a long time, he has the mentality of the club in his veins. I wish him the best.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 1, 2019
Blanc had also been suggested as a possible United manager but the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach says he was not approached about the role.
“No – I have to tell the truth. No,” he added. “I have to say they contacted the correct person because he knows the club and the mentality very well, and I think he’s going to do a good job.”
Blanc’s old club PSG suffered a shock Champions League exit at the hands of Solskjaer’s United last month despite winning the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Barcelona now await in the quarter-finals, the tie a repeat of the 2009 and 2011 finals, both of which United lost.
“You can always explain things, but some things are almost unexplainable,” Blanc continued. “Honestly after the first game, you would have told me PSG would be eliminated by United, I would not have believed it.
“I would have bet, I would have lost a lot of money. This is also the beauty of football, nothing is ever written. Manchester United is a great club, but looking at the first game, I never thought they could qualify.
“It proves that with their new coach, they have a new attitude. But Barcelona are a very, very, very big club. We’ll see.”
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