He had just received the offer to direct the club in which he played 11 seasons sprinkled with glory. An unexpected proposal that radically altered his Christmas and the planning of the preseason of Molde, the Norwegian team he was leading. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Kristiansund, Norway, 1973) He picked up the phone to communicate the offer to the owners of the club and received in response a ton of affection and pride: "Go, enjoy and please, do not come back!". He had signed a renewal with the Molde until 2021, but the Nordic club had no qualms about giving it to Manchester United until the end of the season.
The following day he appeared at Old Trafford with the label of interim coach and the determination of who faces the opportunity of his life, translated into the first leg of this Tuesday (9.00, Movistar + Champions League) against PSG in the eighth the Champions. The empathy that he generated immediately acted as a fan in a wardrobe that suffered an unbreathable atmosphere in the last months of Mourinho as tenant of the bench. Solskjaer was clear that gaining the confidence of the squad was the only possible trigger of efficiency in a team that was eleven points behind fourth place in the Premier.
Presented on December 19, the new coach began to issue positive messages that rearmed the morale of the troop. Imposed the meritocracy in the alignments and a tactical proposal much bolder than that of his predecessor. The result is an outgoing and recognizable team, somewhat discontinuous, but which maintains outstanding levels of effectiveness. In the English Cup eliminated Arsenal winning by 1-3. And in the league has chained an extraordinary run of eight wins and a draw, scoring 23 goals.
This weekend, after defeating Fulham 0-3, the team of Solskjaer went down to fourth, reaching an aspiration that seemed chimerical in December. The statistics support the work of the Norwegian technician. In the Premier his team has gained solidity, fitting only 6 points since his arrival. But it is in the gestation and the attack that United has taken a qualitative leap. Now it is a team with more tactical nuances and variants that allow him to dominate most of the matches, and has added more points than anyone since the swap on the bench.
The rehabilitation of Pogba
The hierarchies in the template have also been moved. Paul Pogba, faced with Mourinho in a toxic relationship, now has gallons of control. Matic and Ander Herrera are two applied and detailed squires who now balance the midfield with trade and allow the French to govern United's attack. Since Solskjaer took away the chains, Pogba has scored eight goals and has given 5 assists. Shines equally reaching like a hammer to the rival area or filtering sharp passes that leave the front for the goal. "Good players make everyone better," says Solskjaer, who has also fostered Pogba's partnership with Rashford.
Mourinho came to question the natural abilities of the young attacker, raised in the club's academy. Now Rashford has established himself as the leading striker, scoring six goals after the arrival of Solskjaer, who lectures him with great faith: "You will do well. Nobody scores goals if they are stressed, so take a deep breath and shoot. " The Norwegian was a surgical striker, selective and concrete. He scored 127 goals in 364 games and now tries to excite the attacking ability of his strikers.
The hero of 1999 at the Camp Nou
De Rashford affirms that he has to learn to fish in the area and that he has the conditions to become what he wants. At the French end Martial, who did not mark from Christmas until on Saturday he signed a great goal against Fulham, the coach also gives him a gift: "He is a fantastic finalist. He has to read the play to score more goals. " And he reminds him that Cristiano Ronaldo was also an end that transformed over time into a ravenous scorer. Solskjaer is shown as an interventionist coach from the board and dialogue. And he is also trying to re-launch players like Lukaku, Mata or Alexis Sánchez, who had lost rank in recent times.
Once the competitive horizon of the team in England has been raised, Solskjaer will now measure the depth of his reaction to PSG. The hero of the unforgettable final of the 1999 Champions League that United conquered with an agonizing goal in the 93rd minute, against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou, knows about special dates. "The most important nights of my career were those of Champions. Those qualifiers in which you put on your boots and go out with the anthem playing at Old Trafford are the ones you remember all your life. "