Ryan Giggs' pride in his home city persuaded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to become Cardiff City boss
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he sought advice from fellow Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs before taking the Cardiff City manager’s job.
Indeed it was Giggs’ pride in his hometown that helped persuade the Norwegian to succeed Malky Mackay in the hot-seat in the Welsh capital.
Solskjaer is already a firm favourite in the red half of Manchester and is looking to make himself even more popular by somehow getting a result at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
But the 40-year-old Cardiff manager is slowly settling into his new job, and he revealed he had already noticed one major difference between the city where Giggs and he strutted their stuff and his new home in Wales.
“It rains more here than in Manchester!,” quipped Solskjaer.
“I had a lovely time in Manchester, but I’ve met so many friendly, smiling people here and loads of Cardiff and United fans which is good for me.
“It’s OK to support both here because of Ryan. I have been in touch with Giggsy, I spoke to him before and when the job came up, and he’s very proud of his hometown.”
Old pals act aside, Solskjaer now faces two normous tests in the city where he made his name.
After City on Saturday comes what the Cardiff boss admits will be an emotional return to Old Trafford 10 days later.
And he knows that any points he and his men can pick up in those next two games will very much be looked upon as a bonus.
“It’s a win-win when you go away to United or City,” said Solskjaer.
“Of course you are going to go and try and get a result, but that starts with a performance.
“If you can get a performance against those teams you know you can get it against others.
“It’s a test, every 30 seconds we might have to defend our own box, but they are the games the players can learn from.
“Of course I was at Manchester United for 15 years so it will be with me forever.
“When we go to Old Trafford people will try and say it’s a normal game, but it’s not, you’re going to a ground that meant everything to you. I’m looking forward to it.”
Manchester City may seemingly be in the ascendency right now and United wobbling under new boss David Moyes, but for true Red Solskjaer, the situation is not quite so clear cut.
“You seem to forget United won the league last year so it’s up for discussion who the dominant side are,” said Solskjaer.
“I don’t want to talk too much about other teams, but City have added fantastic quality players to their squad and they are a joy to watch.”
It seems at the moment that when it comes to his dealings in the transfer market Solskjaer is finding it hard to leave his United links behind him.
His first new face, midfielder Magnus Eikrem, was at Old Trafford as a youngster and two other players the Norwegian has been linked with, teenager Mats Møller Dæhli and striker Mame Biram Diouf, also have United connections.
What with former Red Devil Fraizer Campbell leading the Bluebirds line many might suspect Solskjaer was attempting to build his own ‘Red Army’ in South Wales.
The Bluebirds boss disagrees with such an assumption.
“No, I’m creating a new Cardiff City,” added Solskjaer.
“We need our own identity, it’s not about emulating or copying anyone else, we want to play our football.
“I want to develop Cardiff into a team so that everyone can be proud of the way they play football.
“That we can dominate games like we have done at home this season a few times is good. It’s not about copying anyone else, but obviously I want players I can trust and can play the way I want to.”