Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returned to the Premier League on Thursday when he was hired as manager of struggling Cardiff.
The 40-year-old Solskjaer left Molde in Norway to take over on a rolling contract at the Welsh club, which is 17th in the 20-team Premier League a point and a place above the relegation zone.
“I felt I needed to be back here,” Solskjaer said of his return to British football, where he spent 11 years with United and scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern. “And I want to stay for the long, long term.
“I wish I was 25 again and playing in the Premier League,” he added. “Time ticks for everyone so I can’t, now I’m lucky to be a manager in the Premier League.”
Solskjaer replaced Malky Mackay, who was fired last week after losing a power struggle with the Welsh club’s Malaysian owner, Vincent Tan.
Solskjaer said he spoke to Alex Ferguson, his former manager at United, about taking over at Cardiff and described reports that Ferguson told him to reject the job because of Tan’s interference as “absolute nonsense”.
“He has wished me the best and given me some good advice as he always does,” Solskjaer said of Ferguson.
Regarded as a so-called “super-sub” for his goalscoring turns off the bench and nicknamed by some as the “Baby-faced Assassin,” Solskjaer was a lethal, predatory finisher for United from 1996-2007.
He retired in 2007 after failing to recover from a serious knee injury, but remained at United in a coaching and ambassadorial role and went on to become the club’s reserve-team manager. He coached Molde from 2011, winning back-to-back titles in his first two seasons and the Norwegian Cup in his third.
His first match is against Newcastle United in the third round of the FA Cup.