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Solskjaer Appointment: The Men That Made It Happen

Solskjaer Appointment: The Men That Made It Happen
By Aaron Strain Updated

It really is a great day!

The sun is shining, the country sits 2-from-2 in our Euro qualifying campaign and now United have finally tied up the prodigal son on a full-time basis.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, plucked from the obscurity of Norwegian club management less than four months ago, now permanently resides in one of the most coveted managerial seats in world football.

It's not as if the United legend really ever tore it up as the gaffer of Molde, granted that not many do. But that's the point really. His nine-month dalliance with Cardiff City proved disastrous in the end, despite difficult circumstances on his arrival.

It all begs the question. How the hell have we got to this point? How is Ole Solskjaer now the permanent manager of Manchester United?

Well, it wasn't without the influence of some key men.

Alex Ferguson

You get the feeling that this had The Godfather written all over it.

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Solskjaer's interim appointment and the subsequent selection of his backroom staff saw three former Ferguson players take their places on the United bench, further cementing the patriarch's role at the head of the United family.

The new manager has admitted that the Scot has engaged in taking a far more active role in passing advise both to players and management since the departure of José Mourinho, something that one could only surmise wasn't down to his return to health alone.

In many ways, the Old Trafford faithful have called for such nepotism.  Solskjaer has been part of the United patchwork for over two decades at this stage and after the tumultuous reigns of Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho, a return to familial "values" has been very much yearned.

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Mike Phelan

We can assume that Solskjaer had little real choice when it came to assembling his cohorts on the United bench, but at the same time, we imagine Phelan would have been quite high on his wanted list anyway.

If the conjecture is to be believed, the 56-year-old was more-or-less steering the ship in the final years of Ferguson and despite burning out all-too-quickly when launching his own star as manager of Hull City a few years back, the Lancashire is a born No. 2.

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Like Solskjaer, and indeed other hands Michael Carrick and Fermanagh-born Kieran McKenna, Phelan's remit is very much in the ilk of man-management.

The collective "love-bringing" has evidently worked the trick with the United squad, but crucially, Phelan has the know-all of having won six league titles under the Ferguson regime - a depth of knowledge that will be indispensable to the still damp eared Norwegian.

In a slight kink, solid word on Phelan's future has yet to come from the offices on Sir Matt Busby Way, but one can only expect that the bureaucrats will be doing everything they can to secure his release from Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners, where he currently holds a sporting director role.

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Paul Pogba

The upturn in performances of United's most expensive acquisition of all-time has been key to the success that Solskjar, Phelan et al. have enjoyed since making their Old Trafford returns.

A primary cog in France's successful ascension to World Champions over the Summer, the fraught nature of his relationship with the previous manager was laid bare for all-to-see in the early month of the season.

But gone are the shite performances, gone are the ill-advised and thinly veiled undermining of on-field strategy, even the suggestive Insta posts seemed to have dried up for the time being.

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Stripped of the extra baggage, Pogba has flourished in an environment where his manager has no interest in competing with the flamboyant midfielder in the dick-measuring stakes, registering eight of his eleven league goals, and perhaps more tellingly, six of his nine Premier League assists this season since Solskjaer arrived in December.

Marcus Rashford

Key to Solskjaer's permanent appointment is undoubtedly the tune he has been able to get out of United's younger players, who seemed so bereft of confidence under his predecessor.

Whilst Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial have been reborn under the former Molde boss and Diego Dalot and Scott McTominay continue to progress and bag regular game time, the rise of Rashford to the undisputed primary of the United attack has arguably been Solskjaer's trump card in earning a long-term contract.

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It's almost galling to think that the academy product was touted as next for the door under Mourinho as his promising career was stalling so badly under the Portuguese. Now having usurped Romelu Lukaku at the top of the spear, the hometown striker must surely be destined to be the one on which the next decade is built around.

Mauricio Pochettino

As 2018 drew to a close, it seemed all the world that Ed Woodward would take six months to plan his assault on Daniel Levy and Tottenham to prise the Argentinian manager from their grasp. Solskjaer was but a night watchman.

And whilst 14 victories in 19 games wasn't supposed to happen, Spurs now perennial mid-season wobble must surely have come into the Old Trafford hierarchy's thinking when deciding to bite the bullet and give Solskjaer the job. It was when United came away from Wembley with all three points in mid-January that serious talk of the Scandinavian sticking around gathered pace.

Whilst the '99 Champions League final hero has only suffered one league defeat during his interim rule, Spurs have been humbled by Wolves, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Southampton, as well as United themselves during the same period.

Bottom line. No one wants to negotiate with Daniel Levy. Never.

SEE ALSO: Manchester United Confirm Solskjaer As Permanent Manager

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