This is an interview with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taken from ManUtd.com
*hums* You are my Solskjaer, my only Solskjaer.....
Football may have just emerged from its summer hiatus, but for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer there's been little rest. A new role as United Reserves manager, coaching courses at Lilleshall, the birth of his third child - Elijah - and further planning towards his testimonial in August...
I take it you could call the last few weeks ‘hectic’?
[Puffs his cheeks] A little! I had a coaching course at Lilleshall, got the Reserves job, had a baby… so it’s quite busy at the moment. I might get one Friday night off, if Di Law (from Ole’s testimonial committee) lets me! I’m not complaining. I wanted the coaching course, the Reserves job, this testimonial – and, of course, the baby – so you have to be prepared to work for them.
Are you looking forward to your testimonial?
The thing I’m thinking about most is whether I’m going to last and do myself justice on the pitch. I’m a bit worried about that, but it’ll be a good day for my family. I’ve spoken to Roy [Keane] about his testimonial and he said it’s a great family day, so from that aspect I can’t wait.
How is your knee these days?
Not good! It’ll be OK for 20 minutes with a little bit of help. But I’ve not played football since I’ve retired, so it’s hard keeping fit. You have to be on the bike every day, which is not the most exciting thing to do, and it’s hard work. Not being able to play football is something you come to terms with gradually, though, and I’m lucky to have a job at such a great club to get me through it.
You’ve got genuine hero status among United fans, are you looking forward to saying goodbye, as a player at least?
That’s the main thing that I’m looking forward to, and I hope everyone has a good day. I’d like to think everyone will have a day they can remember, particularly with the Premier League and Champions League trophies being there. I’ve been part of testimonials before and they’ve all been great occasions – hopefully this won’t be any different. Don’t forget, the fans have a great team to celebrate after last season’s achievements as well. It’s not only a player, there’s also a great team to pay tribute to.
And the fans can help a good cause with some of the proceeds going to UNICEF…
I always say football is the most important thing that is not important in life. As a footballer, you can create memories and happiness. If you build a school you can help change lives.
Are you looking forward to your new role as Reserves boss, and what sort of manager are you – are you a hard task master?
I believe that you have to be because what was good enough for me when I was 18 or 19 isn’t good enough for them nowadays. I’ve learned so much about what I should have done when I was that age subsequently. I think you need to push them a bit, but the boys want to be pushed as well. It’s not a doddle being a professional footballer, so I think they’ll have to shed their fair share of sweat. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great challenge.
Have you worked with the Reserves before?
I did a few sessions last year and some with the youth team. I asked Choccy (Brian McClair) sometimes if I could have the Reserves to work with, to challenge myself because when you’re doing coaching courses, you don’t want to go in cold. I’ve enjoyed that and now they’re my responsibility, so that’s a better challenge as well.
Have you had advice from anyone?
I’ve spoken to Choccy, and Rene [Meulensteen] has been my mentor for years now. I’ve learned a lot from him on how to run teams and how to coach. We talk while we’re at Carrington and on the phone even during holidays. We have similar views on football and philosophy, which is nice.
You have three pre-season friendlies, then a Lancashire Senior Cup final against Liverpool to look forward to – is that pressure?
I have much to look forward to. Obviously a final is a big game for any young player, but when it’s against Liverpool it’s more special. But getting the team to the final is Choccy’s achievement so maybe he should take over for that game. I’ll ask him what he wants to do. The Reserves did well in the cups last year. They know now that every game against these teams is a shop window for them, either for the Gaffer to see or for other managers maybe to have them on loan. They’re just at a great stage in their careers and I’m really looking forward to working with them all.
Tickets for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s testimonial against Espanyol on Saturday 2 August are now available on general sale. Prices start at Â£20, with 50% concessions available to under-16s and over-65s.