Last Updated: 21/12/18 8:26pm
Gary Neville has outlined the two main challenges facing new Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who he thinks is only a temporary appointment before United get “the man they want”.
Solskjaer has been appointed as United’s caretaker manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho earlier this week.
Neville is a former team-mate of Solskjaer’s at United, and told Sky Sports that success for the Norwegian will be measured on and off the pitch.
“Firstly it’s getting the club into the Champions League, that is ultimately what he has to try and do, and if they can get a trophy that would be amazing.
“But I think the bigger job is helping the club assess the players in the dressing room, those players, some of whom have hidden behind Jose Mourinho in the last 6-12 months. In the next six months when the excuses are gone, it’s about are they good enough and which are good enough to come on the journey with the new manager next season.
Ole is so popular, he is probably one of the most popular players that have been at Manchester United
Gary Neville on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“That’s a big part of what Ole can do – feed into the board. It also allows the club time to reset.
“There are different ways to measure it [success]. On the pitch it’s Champions League but off the pitch making sure the club are set up ready for next season to be reset on and off the pitch.”
Solskjaer has said he would like to become permanent Manchester United manager.
While Neville thinks that would be possible if he won the Champions League, he otherwise expects United to look elsewhere in the summer.
He said: “It was obvious they wanted a bridge to get the club to the end of the season, someone who could attach themselves to the players and the fans and the values of the club.
“The statement from the club this week was that they wanted to settle the place down and take the angst away from everybody. It has been an unhappy place for the last three months. That isn’t just the fault of Jose Mourinho, ultimately it’s been going wrong from the start of the season.
“Ole is so popular, he is probably one of the most popular players that have been at Manchester United in terms of what he achieved, the goal in ’99, he’s a gentleman and a good person and has immersed himself in coaching. When he finished playing he became a reserve team coach at United and wanted to learn the ropes.
“I think it’s a temporary appointment before they get the man they want for the long term.
“If he won the Champions League it’s inconceivable that he would be told to step down and I don’t think Manchester United would do that. But I don’t think Manchester United are good enough to win the Champions League.
“To get into the top four would be a fantastic achievement but I do think they have done this to get the man they want at the end of the season, who is obviously not available now.”
Neville also said he thinks Solskjaer will have improved since his time in charge of Cardiff in 2014, when he only lasted nine months.
“He will be better for that experience at Cardiff,” Neville said. “We have a stigma in this country against managers who have been sacked but it means he is more mature and experienced having had the experience, and is richer in some ways coming to Manchester United now after being at Cardiff and going through what went wrong.”