Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Teams Coached

Kallang-Singapore-19jul2019-Ole gunnar solskjaer manager of Manchester utd in action during training at national stadium,singapore

Yet to return to the scene after departing Old Trafford in 2021, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spent most of his managerial career at his beloved Manchester United. It all started with their U21 side before a successful stint with Molde. With the Red Devils, Solskjaer had three years as a coach before being replaced by Ralf Rangnick.

Manchester United Forward Coach and Reserve (July 1, 2007 – December 30, 2011)

Major honours: Lancashire Senior Cup (2007-08), Manchester Senior Cup (2008-09), Premier Reserve League North (2009-10), Premier Reserve League (2009-10)

The Norwegian striker played 11 years at the club with his scoring exploits helping Manchester United to glory in the club’s most successful decade, including the unforgettable treble success in the 1998-99 season.

After a knee injury ended his career in 2007, he stayed at Manchester United with the coaching responsibility of strikers before taking over the reverse side the next season.

When he signed his last contract extension as a player, Manchester United presented a chance for him to kickstart a coaching career as well as already participating in tours as the club ambassador.

And, before the youth teams, he actually worked with the first team strikers for the final weeks of the 2007-08 campaign. In the season they won the Champions League in Moscow, Solskjaer helped the megastar trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney net 79 goals in all competitions.

It was not long before the Norwegian Football Federation targeted to appoint him for the national team after Age Hareide’s resignation. But Solskjaer declined the chance as he felt it wasn’t the right time for such a big responsibility.

At the end of the 2009-10 season, he won the Premier Reserve League as Manchester United beat Aston Villa in the playoff final on penalties. Ben Foster was the star of the night as the goalkeeper scored the decisive kick.

Solskjaer had a chance to work closely with Sir Alex Ferguson in his time with the reserve team. Warren Joyce was the co-manager and he was appointed the sole manager when Solskjaer returned home with Molde.

The likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Danny Welbeck were among the players to pass through Solskjaer’s team. 

There were also few appearances by his former teammates either as they gear to full fitness after injuries or lack of gametime with Sir Alex’s side. Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson reunited with their ex-teammate as a reverse team player for a few games.

Molde (January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2013)

123 games: 68 wins, 24 draws, 31 defeats

Major honours: Tippeligaen (2011, 2012), Norwegian Football Cup (2013)

His second club was also one he spent some time as a player. Solskjaer had a fruitful time at Molde as he scored 34 goals from 46 games in all competitions.

Although he signed the contract to return to Molde before the start of the 2011 Norwegian season, Solskjaer remained with the Manchester United Reserves for a couple of months.

He didn’t have the start he envisioned at Molde with just two points from the first three games that included a 3-0 defeat to newly-promoted Sarpsborg. At the end of the season, Sarpsborg finished bottom of the league while Molde were the champions of Tippeligaen. 

Before Solskjaer’s arrival, Molde finished mid-table in two of the three previous seasons. They first climbed to the top spot in the 13th matchday, a place they never left until the end of the season.

In the Europa League, they were knocked out of the competition in the preliminary rounds by VfB Stuttgart. There was also an early exit from the domestic cup competition as they lost to another newly-promoted team Fredrikstad in the Second Round.

In the middle of his second season back in Norway, Aston Villa pushed to get him back to English football as they dismissed Alex McLeish. Solskjaer declined the offer once again with family matters behind his reasoning.

As he led Molde to their first league title in his debut season, Solskjaer quickly became one of the sought after coaches in European football. And he managed to defend his title in 2012.

This one was more difficult as the title was decided on the last matchday. Molde’s home form was the biggest difference to their Stromsgodset as Solskjaer’s team won 14 of their 15 games at Aker Stadion.

In the cup, Molde reached the semi-finals where they lost away from home to Per-Mathias Hogmo’s Tromso. 

Although his third season started with poor form, Solskjaer once again ended the campaign with a trophy that secured European football. The sixth-placed finish in the league was also a good result as they lost the first four and only had one win from the first 11 games.

In Europe, Molde failed to qualify to the Champions League group stage with Davy Claude Angan’s early red card giving the advantage to Basel in the playoff.

They also couldn’t get out of their Europa League group, although they beat their old foe Stuttgart home and away. Their second half of the season form contributed to the perfect parting ways gift.

On 24 November 2013, Molde lifted the Norwegian Football Cup as they beat Rosenborg 4-2 in the final. Solskjaer’s men showed their resilience in the final as they reversed a 2-1 deficit in the final 20 minutes. 

Solskjaer won the Kniksen Award Coach of the Year in his first two seasons at Molde. 

Cardiff City (January 2, 2014 – September 18, 2014)

30 games: 9 wins, 5 draws, 16 defeats

As expected, a Premier League job pulled the plug on his Molde tenure. But it wasn’t with one of the league’s formidable clubs. On their first-ever Premier League season, Cardiff City brought Solskjaer in the middle of the campaign to replace Malky Mackay. His most memorable moment as manager was this response when asked about Liverpool‘s title chances:

Although they knocked out Premier League regulars Newcastle United in the FA Cup away from home in the Norwegian’s debut, the results in the league didn’t show any improvements under him.

If anything, the club has never been outside the relegation spot, which they have never been to in the first 20 matchdays, since he came into the office.

Cardiff City finished the campaign bottom-placed as they only beat Fulham, Southampton and Norwich City under his stewardship. Two of these teams followed Cardiff’s footsteps into Championship.

Their working relationship continued to the second division, but Solskjaer stepped down from his position only a month to the start of the new season. They picked up seven points from the first three outings, but losing at home to Middelsbrough and Norwich in the space of three days ended the relationship. 

The Bluebirds were 17th in the Championship standings at the time of Solskjaer leaving his post. After talks with the club’s chairman Mehmet Dalman, it was clear that there was a big difference between the parties besides the lack of results.

Cardiff City’s owner Vincent Tan said that many people advised him to let Solskjaer go after the relegation to Championship. 

The club replaced him with Danny Gabbidon and Scott Young as interim coaches before Russell Slade stepped in to end the season. Neil Warnock brought back the club to the Premier League in the 2018-19 season, but they once again ended up getting relegated back to Championship right away.

Molde (October 21, 2015 – December 18, 2018)

118 games: 66 wins, 19 draws, 33 defeats

On his return to Molde, Solskjaer signed a three-and-a-half year contract. Following his unsuccessful spell at Cardiff City, the ex-striker took a year break from football coaching.

He was involved in a big Europa League game against Celtic the day after he signed his contract with Molde. It was a successful start with a 3-1 win as he continued their good start to the European campaign under Erling Moe.

Since the Norwegian football league system follows the annual calendar format, he only had three games left in the domestic season. A 100% record helped Molde to climb up to fifth in the league standings.

In the Europa League, Molde finished top of their “Group of Death” consisting Fenerbahce, Ajax and Celtic. Despite a first-leg win at home, their run came to an end by the tournament specialist Sevilla in the first knockout round.

In his first full season since his return to Molde, the club had a mixed run of results. They finished fifth once again, which meant that they narrowly missed out in Europe.

Their form away from home was the biggest concern as Molde lost 8 of the 15 on their travels. They were knocked out of the cup by the lower-tier team Stjordals-Blink in the Third Round.

In the 2017 Eliteserien season, Molde only won the first two of the nine games before picking up form in the next batch of nine encounters. Although there was a seven points difference with the champions Rosenborg, the second-placed finish was a welcome return for Molde at the end of the season.

They also reached the semi-final of the Norwegian Football Cup where they lost to Lillestrom 3-0. In the league, they only lost one of their last ten games of the season.

The improvements continued to Solskjaer’s last season at Molde. They scored five in three separate games of the first half of the season as the aim was to get back to the top of the standings.

But they had to settle for a second place finish once again. Despite 8 wins out of the last 9 league games, Molde failed to catch Rosenborg in the race for the championship title.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to show in terms of trophies in Solskjaer’s second stint at the club as they lost to third-division side Brattvag in the Second Round of Norwegian Football Cup.

In the Europa League, they knocked out three teams before losing to Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg. Only two weeks after the news that he extended his contract at the club to the end of 2021, Solskjaer saw the exit door to return to Manchester United.

Erling Moe, who was the caretaker manager just before Solskjaer, won Eliteserien in the 2019 season. The man who was Solskjaer’s assistant coach is still working as the club’s head coach.

Manchester United (December 19, 2018 – November 21, 2021)

168 games: 92 wins, 33 draws, 38 defeats

When Jose Mourinho’s mixed time came to an end in Old Trafford, Manchester United returned to their familiar figure as a caretaker manager. The plan was for Solskjaer to return to his Molde post after the end of the English season.

As fate has it, he started his second chapter with Manchester United facing his former club Cardiff City. The Red Devils scored five goals for the first time since Sir Alex Fergusen’s farewell game as they beat Neil Warnock’s side 5-1.

His name was mentioned with another giant as he became the first Manchester United coach since Sir Matt Busby to win his first five league games.

As there were plenty of doubters to his abilities to coach one of the biggest clubs in the world, Solskjaer’s start helped him settle in the hotseat of the club he knew too well as a player.

And he won the Premier League Manager of the Month trophy for collecting 10 out of the possible 12 in January 2019. Six successive away wins sent United to the top four in matchday 26 for the first time in the season.

His 25 points from the first 9 games was Premier League’s record for a new coach. There was also the famous win at Parc des Princes that saw Manchester United knock out star-studded PSG in the Champions League.

His first defeat came at Emirates Stadium as they lost 2-0 to Arsenal. Things didn’t look the same after this game. They bow out to Wolves in the FA Cup and only managed to win two of the last eight in the league.

They were also unable to threaten Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona in the quarter-final of Champions League. A 4-0 loss to Everton and closing the campaign with home defeat to an already-relegated Cardiff side further had the excitement boiled down,

All in all, what he managed was deemed satisfactory by the club as a short-term replacement after all the mayhem under Mourinho in the first half of the season. But, in the end, the sixth-placed league finish was identical to what Jose left the club with in December.

But Solskjaer had the support of his former teammates who held key roles in the English media landscape as well as influencing what happened at Manchester United. He was assigned as the permanent coach at the start of the 2019-20 season.

Contrary to his time as a caretaker manager, United started the new campaign with the club’s worst run in 33 years. A home defeat to Sean Dyche’s Burnley created more frenzy as the whole team booed by the fans at the final whistle.

As the protests also directed at the club owners the Glazers and vice-chairman Ed Woodward, Solskjaer was not targeted specifically. Bruno Fernandes’ January transfer helped United finish the season with a 14-game unbeaten run.

Although their point tally was similar to the previous season, they finished in third as they confirmed their return to Champions League football. In both domestic cup competitions, they lost at the semi-final stage.

But they also started the next season in poor form. A 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur didn’t help to ease matters as it was recorded the club’s joint heaviest loss in the Premier League.

They were also knocked out of the Champions League group stage with a solitary win from the six games against PSG, RB Leipzig and debutant Istanbul Basaksehir. This led United to drop to the Europa League, where they reached the final in Gdansk, Poland. Losing in the one-legged semi-final to Sevilla the previous season, Manchester United once again had a Spanish contingent as opposition in the form of Villarreal. With their league form showing improvement – including the club once sitting top of the table for the first time since Sir Alex retired – they were the favorites going into the final.

After a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes, Villarreal triumphed in a penalty shootout that involved every player on the pitch. As such, Ole failed to repeat Mourinho’s feat of winning the Europa League.

But they finished runners-up in the league, which was their first back-to-back Champions League finish since Sir Alex’s days.

In his third season at the club, Solskjaer had a familiar face on his roster. Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United after his spell with Real Madrid and Juventus. The Portuguese superstar instantly played a key role in United’s adventures in the 2021-22.

Although they set a new record for unbeaten run of away games in 29, Ole lost his job before the halfway point of the season. A 4-1 defeat to Watford meant Manchester United conceded 15 goals in three games, that includes losing 5-0 to arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

And that was it for Ole and United. Michael Carrick took his place as caretaker coach before Ralf Rangnick saw out the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stats

ClubDaysGamesWonDrawsLoss
Manchester United Striker coach365
Manchester United Reserve913123682431
Molde1095342347
Cardiff City259309516
Molde1154118681933
Manchester United1068168923338

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trophies won

 

TitleTimes won
Lancashire Senior Cup1
Manchester Senior Cup1
Premier Reserve League North1
Premier Reserve League1
Tippeligaen2
Norwegian Football Cup1

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer individual awards won

 

AwardTimes won
Peer Gynt Prize1 (2009)
Kniksen Award Coach of the Year2 (2011, 2012)
Premier League Manager of the Month1 (January 2019)