LONDON: Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club’s permanent manager on a three-year contract on Thursday following a highly successful caretaker spell in charge.
The Norwegian, 46, has inspired a dramatic revival of United’s fortunes since taking over from the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, winning 14 of his 19 games and leading the Red Devils to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Solskjaer, who scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United, was already a hero to fans as the man who scored the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final to complete the treble.
“From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club,” Solskjaer said in a statement on the club’s website. “It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here.
“The last few months have been a fantastic experience and I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff for the work we’ve done so far.
“This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long-term and hopefully deliver the continued success that our amazing fans deserve.”
United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.”
After Mourinho was sacked following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool on December 16, Solskjaer initially arrived from Norwegian club Molde “on loan” until the end of the season.
Solskjaer, who spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford as a player, took over with the club in sixth place in the Premier League, 11 points off the top four.
But they have lost just once in the league since then and are now in fifth place, just two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, with eight games remaining in the season.
The highlight of his reign so far was a dramatic 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 in the Champions League, with United overturning a 2-0 first-leg defeat to reach the quarter-finals on away goals.
Solskjaer’s former United teammate Peter Schmeichel tweeted: “Congratulations my friend, it is well deserved. Up and onwards let’s chase some trophies.”
Former United defender Gary Neville welcomed the appointment and urged the club to back the new full-time boss financially.
“I’m delighted for Ole,” Neville tweeted. “I didn’t think this would happen when he was appointed. However the results and spirit in the club have been incredible since he arrived and he deserves it. He now needs support in the transfer market in terms of finance and the right resource!”
Another former United teammate of Solskjaer’s, Rio Ferdinand, tweeted: “Yessss Ole is officially at The Wheel… Signed, Sealed, Delivered! Manager of @ManUtd! I hope my Thank You is in post Ole.”