Manchester United legend Neville has message for Solskjaer after deal gets officially announced
Gary Neville says “the hard work starts now” for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, after the former striker was appointed permanent boss.
After a terrible start to the new season, in which United were out the running for a Champions League spot and close to going out of the Champions League itself, United made the bold decision to sack former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and replace him with Solskjaer.
Solskjaer has won 14 of his 19 matches in charge, helping to propel United back into the race for a top-four finish, and the Norwegian also masterminded a memorable comeback in the Champions League last-16 tie against PSG when the Red Devils overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to set up a quarter-final tie against Barcelona.
And after the Red Devils made the right decision to hand Solskjaer a permanent contract, the Norwegian’s former team-mate Neville warned that the club still has a lot of work to do.
He told the Sky Sports website: “I’m delighted for Ole first and foremost. When he was first appointed, I never envisaged that he would get the permanent job. I remember at the time, I was talking about Mauricio Pochettino being the No 1 candidate and Ole just coming in to steady the ship and get everyone happy again, but the results and performances have been beyond incredible really – almost flawless.
‘People will point towards the Wolves and Arsenal games but generally, in the last three or four months, the performances have been fantastic, as have the results, so I’m delighted for him. The hard work starts now.
“I always said that end of March, start of April was the right time to reflect and if it had gone past today, I would have been thinking that Ole wasn’t going to be the permanent manager of Man Utd because it ultimately would have been delayed until the end of the season.
“Let’s be clear, Man Utd have still got a long way to go before they get back to being anywhere near where they should be and I don’t think today is a time to start thinking that Manchester United are going to win the league in the next 10 minutes.
“It has been an unhappy place for four or five seasons so I think the first thing is getting the fans excited to be going to the games again. In the last two or three months, I’ve felt excited by what I’ve seen for the first time in a while – the atmosphere in the ground has returned, the joy on the fans’ faces, the away following has connected with the team again. The players have upped their game so I think this is phase one, to get the club happy again and that’s where it’s at.
“There is a lot of hard work still to do in the coming months and years to get Man Utd back to where it was before. I saw Louis van Gaal the other day say that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s football is like Jose Mourinho’s but winning. Van Gaal’s football at Man Utd was the worst I’ve ever seen and Mourinho’s was far better, even though it wasn’t acceptable in terms of what the fans want to see.
“We’ve had a lot of change at the club in the last four or five years with different managers coming in, world-class managers and it hasn’t worked. Ole has bought a level of happiness and excitement back to the fans, which is at least something because it has been difficult to watch over the last three or four years.”