Manchester United will rely on a familiar, babyface to steady its ship.
The Red Devils announced Wednesday in a statement they’ve hired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager. The 45-year-old Norwegian spent 15 years as a Manchester United player and coach between 1996 and 2011, earning the nickname “the baby-faced assassin” for his youthful looks and goal-scoring prowess. He returns to Old Trafford from Norwegian club Molde FK where he had managed since 2015.
“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role. I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club,” Solskjær said in a club statement.
He replaces Jose Mourinho, whom Manchester United dramatically fired Tuesday after two-and-a-half years in charge. The Red Devils currently are languishing in sixth place in the Premier League standings, 19 points behind first-place Liverpool.
Mike Phelan, who was a Manchester United assistant coach between 2001 and 2013, also returns to the club. He’ll work with Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, holdovers from Mourinho’s final season, as assistants under Solskjaer.
Solskjaer’s only managerial experience in the Premier League came in 2014 when he failed to save Cardiff City from relegation and left after just eight months following a slow start to the 2014-15 season. He since has guided Molde to successive second-place finishes in Norway’s Eliteserien (first division).
Manchester United will conduct its search for a permanent manager in the coming weeks and months. Leading candidates include Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, according to The Times.
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