Solskjaer ready for warm United reception

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to acknowledge the warmth of Manchester United fans on his return to Old Trafford as a manager of Cardiff City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

He also expressed hopes that Cardiff supporters will hold him in similar regard in future. 

Solskjaer is returning to the club where he is best remembered just four weeks after Cardiff handed him his first Premier League managerial post.

The 40-year-old is likely to receive a great ovation from the home fans as they pay tribute to his 14 years' service to the club, first as a player for 11 years and then as a coach.

Most famously Solskjaer scored the late winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final while his efforts also helped yield six Premier League titles before he retired in 2007.

Solskjaer has already had a small taste of what he might expect having been staying in Manchester with his squad following Saturday's FA Cup game at Bolton.

Solskjaer, whose name long featured on banners at Old Trafford, said: "Roy Keane has been back, Bryan Robson has been back.

"There has been loads of ex-players who have gone back there (as managers) and had a good reception, before and after the game.

"The United fans are the best in the world when it comes to recognising their former players.

"They have been coming up to me but, hopefully, in 15 years' time, the Cardiff fans will be doing the same."

Solskjaer intends to put sentiment aside, saying "I'm not too emotional" and that his playing experience will have prepared him for the reception he might get.

But he still makes no secret of the fondness with which he still holds United.

Of his many great times, one memory stands out - not of the glory night in Barcelona in 1999 but of a performance in what proved his final season, 2006-07, after three injury-plagued years.

He said: "For me, it was the 2-0 win against Newcastle after my injuries.

"I was credited with both goals, even though one was a rebound from a (Cristiano) Ronaldo shot and the other when Vida (Nemanja Vidic) shot and it hit my shinpad and went in!

"Walking off the pitch, I saw my son clench his fists when he saw me.

"He was six and a half at the time and that was the moment that I thought, 'He will remember Dad as a Man Utd player.'

"I got injured when he was three and a half, so he would never remember me playing before that.

"That was my one and only motivating factor when I was injured - to make sure he would see me play.

"My dad was a wrestler, you see, and I keep hearing about how good he was and how great he was, but I only see these cuttings in a newspaper.

"I never saw him in action, so I have no memory of that, but Noah will always be able to remember his dad playing for Man Utd and that was everything for me.

"I have many memories - scoring on my debut against Blackburn, scoring my last goal against Blackburn.

"There are countless, but the Newcastle one is the one that stands out."



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