Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s disastrous Cardiff reign and what it means for Man Utd
23rd December 2018

The former Cardiff chief, 45, has been handed the reins until the end of the season at least – beginning by taking on his former club tomorrow.

Solskjaer – who is on loan from Molde in his homeland – has admitted he made mistakes at the Bluebirds but insists he learned some lessons.

Here, SunSport analyses the Norwegian's spell at Cardiff to see what United fans have in store.

Tactics

Solskjaer arrived at the Cardiff City Stadium promising to bring free-flowing, attacking football with him.

But with his side stuck in a relegation scrap, the former striker struggled to get much going on the field and became notorious for tinkering.

He played the same XI in consecutive games just once in his eight-month spell and his players struggled to find any rhythm as a result.


Solskjaer bizarrely tried to turn Iceland skipper Aron Gunnarsson into a No10 and placed poacher Adam le Fondre on the left wing in a 4-4-2.

He also infamously changed three defenders after a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa and ended up losing 4-0 at home to Hull the next game.

While his squad at United will undoubtedly be stronger, Solskjaer will have to try and settle on a preferred line-up to give United's stars chance to shine.

Signings

Cardiff were not set up to play expansive football under former boss Malky Mackay and Solskjaer quickly moved to bring in players to ease the transition.

He looked to Norway for midfield trio Mats Moller Daehli, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Jo Inge Berget, who struggled to make an impact despite flashes of potential.

Wilfried Zaha arrived on loan from Old Trafford but flopped, while Brazilian full-back Fabio and become a fan favourite.

Ball-playing defender Juan Cala and target man Kenwyne Jones were also brought in during the new boss' first transfer window.

Following relegation to the Championship, Solskjaer was backed again in the market and brought in 10 players.

Guido Burgstaller, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Javi Guerra,Tom Adeyemi were forgettable for the Bluebirds, while another ex-United star Federico Macheda also struggled.

Club legend Danny Gabbidon was brought back in a popular move, while Sean Morrison and Bruno Manga – undoubtedly Solskjaer's biggest success stories – still excel in defence.

Le Fondre was inconsistent even when played up front while Anthony Pilkington impressed – although he has since fallen out of favour.

Only three of Solskjaer's 17 signings – Manga, Fabio and Morrison – could be described as shrewd, with many leaving the club on a free and the Bluebirds left in financial turmoil.

Vedict

Solskjaer was initially well liked in Cardiff due to his easy-going nature but divides opinion these days.

Some sections of the support feel he took on a tough job too early and do not blame the tactician.

But others will give Solskjaer a rough welcome when he returns with his star-studded new side.

With reports of a director of football being brought in, United fans may not have to worry about their former star getting his hands on the chequebook.

However, the baby-faced assassin will need to do a better job of explaining his vision in a dressing room filled with international megastars than he did with Cardiff.

But his desire to get full-backs bombing forward and creative midfielders on the ball could be just the tonic – the days of parking the bus are certainly over.

 

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