Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes Manchester United role long term

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The "Baby-Faced Assassin" is in the United hot seat until the end of the season, but he wants to stay on longer. (AFP)
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Updated 21 December 2018

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes Manchester United role long term

  • Norwegian has designs on the Reds' coaching job long term.
  • Solskjaer gets his interim coaching stint at Old Trafford under way against former club Cardiff on Saturday.

LONDON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has thrown down the gauntlet to Manchester United saying he wants to be the boss of the Reds full-time.
The Norwegian was speaking on his first day as interim coach following the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday. The 45-year-old — who was a legend at the Reds during his 11 years at Old Trafford, scoring 91 goals in 235 appearances — is in the hot seat until the end of the season during which time United hope to have made a permanent appointment.
But he told his first press conference as the caretaker manager that he has no plans to leave in the summer and wants to put up a compelling argument for becoming Mourinho’s long-term successor.

Solskjaer is a cult figure at Old Trafford thanks to his 91 goals in 11 seasons at the club. 


“When you get a job like this and they ask you to sign for six months, you say ‘yeah’,” Solskjaer said.
“I’m happy to help out and my job now for the next six months is to do as well as I can and move the club forward as well as I can.
“I understand there are so many managers who would love to be manager of Manchester United and I am one of them. But it is not something we’ve talked about, they’ll do a process now for the next six months.”
Solskjaer, renowned for his threat off the bench and still revered by United supporters for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final, faces a daunting challenge as he replaces Mourinho.
United have made their worst start in the Premier League era and languish 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, and 11 off the Champions League places.
“My job is to help the players, make them grasp the opportunity now because they all want to be part of Man United,” said Solskjaer.
“I’m going to be here to help them, help the team, that is down to man management. I had the best manager as a player and coach to learn how he dealt with players and it’s about communication. I’ll sit down and speak to the ones not playing, tell them what I expect of them.
“When you’re at Man United there are a set of demands and one is to be a team player and I don’t think anyone has been on the bench more than me. That’s always my comeback to players, you might come on and make an impact.”
Solskjaer spoke of the debt he owed to Alex Ferguson, who built a team that dominated English football, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues.
Solskjaer will begin his United reign at Cardiff City on Saturday, the only other Premier League club he has managed — he had a difficult eight-month spell in South Wales and was unable to save the club from relegation.


Diriyah Tennis Cup serves up top-class fare

Updated 13 December 2019

Diriyah Tennis Cup serves up top-class fare

  • Day one of the three-day tournament saw Fognini, Monfils, Medvedev and Goffin through to the semi-finals

RIYADH: A new chapter was written today in Saudi Arabia’s sporting history as the first international tennis matches took place as part of the epic month of Diriyah Season.

The Diriyah Tennis Cup presented by Saudi Aramco will certainly go down in history as eight of the world’s best tennis stars met in the Diriyah Arena for the first-ever international tournament played in the Kingdom. 

The event also goes down in tennis history as not only the first in Saudi Arabia, but also one of the first to use Hawk-Eye Live technology. Replacing the need for line judges and providing more accuracy, Hawk-Eye Live sends visual and audio cues to the chair umpire and off-court monitors within a tenth of a second of a ball bouncing, to show faults and out of bounds shots without relying on the naked eye.

The first day as part of a three-day tournament saw all eight players in action in the opening matches. First up on court was Italian and world number 12 Fabio Fognini taking on American John Isner world number 19 and holder of the third fastest serve of all time in Men’s Tennis. Although both players will be written into the Kingdom’s history books, it was Fognini who was the record breaker as he delivered the first international serve and match win ever recorded, 7-6 6-4. 

Speaking after his win, Fabio Fognini said: “I won the first game of the competition, it’s nice. It’s something I will remember for sure and the people will remember as it is the first year we play here. I know they want to do something more [grassroots tennis], especially to improve tennis in this country so I’m happy.”

Commenting after the historic match, John Isner also added: “Very unique to be here and be part of this. I never thought I’d be here playing in Saudi Arabia. Very grateful and happy to be here. The ball kids did great tonight, fantastic job.”

Second up on the Diriyah Arena court was Swiss Stan Wawrinka, the world’s number 16, against Frenchman Gael Monfils the world’s number 10. Monfils took the win in straight sets 6-3 6-3. Monfils rallied the crowd by encouraging them to cheer and danced after some of his winning shots.

“So far it’s great. The offering they have here for us to perform is incredible. The court is one of the best…it’s quite nice. The people are very nice. I feel very good.” said Monfils.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany met in the third match of the evening. Medvedev made light work of Struff to take the win 6-3 6-1 and advance to the semi-finals.

Speaking after his win, Medvedev commented: “Was a great match. It’s never easy like this, after the end of the season, holidays and in the middle of pre-season to know how you are playing at this moment – are you strong or not? Today was a great match, beating Jan so easy is a great achievement because he’s a great player so I am really happy. The atmosphere was also really good and warm.”

In the final match of the night, Belgian’s David Goffin rallied with Lucas Pouille of France. Goffin took the final place in tomorrow night’s semi-finals beating Pouille 6-2 6-4.

After the match, Goffin commented: “Super organisation – the stadium is very nice. First time for me playing in Saudi, it’s a great atmosphere. I think for the people tonight it was something to see, professional tennis matches here. I think it was great for us and them as well. It’s a nice court and stadium – it could be a very nice center court in a big tournament.”

Today’s results will see Fognini of Italy meet Monfils of France in semi-final 1 and Medvedev of Russia will take on Goffin of Belgium on Friday 13th December. The remaining four players will still continue to play as part of the Consolation Bracket. The Diriyah Tennis Cup will conclude with the final on Saturday 14th December.