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Manchester United have named legendary former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as interim manager until the end of the season.
The move to appoint Solskjaer, who will be assisted by another former United player, Mike Phelan, comes a day after the club sacked manager Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer had been manager of Norwegian side Molde, but the 45-year-old couldn’t resist the chance to take over at a club where he spent 11 years as a player, scoring 91 goals in 235 games, and was also reserve team manager from 2008-11.
“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club.”
United sacked Mourinho after a series of poor results and performances this season. The club are currently 6th in the Premier League after 17 matches, but they are 19 points behind leaders Liverpool – who beat them 3-1 last Sunday – and 11 points adrift of the Champions League places.
Mourinho had also have public bust-ups with several players, most notably record signing Paul Pogba – who he had dropped from the starting XI in recent weeks.
Solskjaer will be assisted by Phelan, who filled a similar role at United under Sir Alex Ferguson. Existing coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna will continue to work for the club.
His first match will be against Cardiff City – the club where he endured a nightmare eight-month spell as manager in 2014. Solskjaer couldn’t save the Bluebirds from relegation from the Premier League, and was sacked after the side made a poor start to their Championship campaign.
United will look to appoint a full-time manager in the summer. Several names have been linked with the job, including former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles,” said Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman.
“His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back.
“We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”