Giggs: I hope Solskjaer gets the Manchester United manager's job
The two-time Champions League winner has spoken of his admiration for the work his former team-mate has done since replacing Jose Mourinho in December
Ryan Giggs has hailed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the way his former Manchester United team-mate has transformed the fortunes of the club since taking over from Jose Mourinho.
United are making huge progress under the Norwegian, who was initially drafted in as an interim appointment when Mourinho was sacked in December.
Since then, Solskjaer has realigned United’s season by thrusting them back into contention for a Champions League place and by steering them past Paris Saint-Germain this week in one of the club’s most memorable recent Champions League away days.
“It’s fantastic,” Giggs told Goal in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken. “No one could have dreamed of the way the team has performed since he took over.
“The results, there’s only PSG [defeat in the first leg], which can happen, where he has been defeated. So far, he has played Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal and he is unbeaten in all those games. So, what he has done in a short space of time is amazing.”
Solskjaer has made sure that he will be favourite when the time comes for United’s executive vice-chair Ed Woodward to make a decision on Mourinho’s permanent successor. And Giggs believes that, if his fellow 1999 Champions League winner can keep up the momentum, then he would be the ideal candidate for the full-time job.
“At Manchester United you’ve got to have that consistency, week in, week out and it is not easy,” Giggs said.
“He has had a great start to his coaching career at United. If he gets the job, which I hope he does, he's got to keep it up, which is not easy in the Premier League and in the other trophies.”
The PSG victory was achieved against the odds with the French champions 2-0 up on aggregate from the first leg and with United without as many as 10 first-team players, including the suspended Paul Pogba.
A year on from United’s humiliation at the hands of Sevilla at the same stage of the competition, Solskjaer and assistant Mike Phelan have reinstalled that never-say-die attitude that was so common at the club under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“We were accustomed to having winning football over the last 25 years but also doing it in a way that Manchester United are used to,” said Giggs.
“Playing exciting football, having young players come through together with the balance of players who you bring in – the big names, and he is winning the right way and getting fans out of their seats.
“So, everyone is happy at the moment, long may it continue.”
The final days of the Mourinho era were marked out by some ordinary results and disappointing performances but the upswing in the club’s form has coincided with Solskjaer giving back to the players a sense of joy in their football.
“As a player, if you're not enjoying it, there is no point in playing,” said Giggs. “When you are enjoying your football, and you're playing with a smile on your face, you’ll try things. So, that’s what I see at the moment with the likes of Pogba, Martial, Rashford, all these players expressing themselves, and I think Ole has had a lot to do with that.
“I think all teams are happy when they are winning. So, no matter who the coach is, when you are winning you have a happy dressing room because then you have a happy staff, the media aren’t criticising you and the fans are happy. The whole atmosphere around the club has changed because we are winning again, and we are playing football the Manchester United way.”
Giggs found himself in comparable circumstances to Solskjaer back in 2014, when David Moyes was dismissed four games before the end of the Premier League season, and he was installed as temporary manager.
“I only had four games,” he said. “So, it was a bit different and I was still playing and part of the dressing room.