By 90Min
December 20, 2018

Ole Gunner Solskjær has temporarily succeeded Jose Mourinho in becoming the next manager of Manchester United until the end of the season, leaving Cardiff City fans somewhat perplexed.

The move has generated a mixed reaction in Manchester, whilst in the Welsh capital, where the 45-year-old endured a torrid spell in charge of the Bluebirds winning just three of his 18 games in charge, there is almost a sense of bewilderment.

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Five years ago, following the dismissal of Malky Mackay, the Norwegian was interviewed for the job in south Wales - which was seen as a major coup at the time, given his rising managerial status in the European footballing circles.

Supposedly a target for a host of 'big' clubs in Europe following his first Norwegian title in 2011 and going on to retain the trophy in the following season, the former Manchester United striker signed on the dotted line and an sense of optimism filled the Cardiff City Stadium.

Young, smart, energetic and of course a 'name' within the game, the Bluebirds had finally succeeded to lure a manager with a burgeoning reputation as one of the brightest young bosses in football, and the future was as bright as the red shirts of Cardiff.

Solskjær scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United between 1996 and 2007 but failed to match the heights of his playing career in the Premier League with his first shot at managing in England's top flight.

His failings at Cardiff were down to a number of factors which could yet impact his time in Manchester.

For some, his reign in Cardiff was chaotic. Solskjær never seemed to know his best eleven and only once in his time in south Wales did he use the same starting XI twice.

The Norwegian also played key players in unfamiliar roles - Aron Gunnarsson was forced to play a number 10 role whilst right-footed centre-back Matthew Connolly was deployed at left-back.

One of the major question marks during his tenure was his signings. He brought in three Norwegians, Mats Daehli, Magnus Wolff Ekrem and Jo Inge Berget, who all failed to adapt and cope with the demands the Premier League asks, looking considerably out of their depth.

Questions remain to be answered whether the 'Baby-Faced Assassin' will be given the funds to help pull the underperforming Manchester United players through the season but United fans should be alarmed with Solskjær's inability to recognise top talent.

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Horror shows like the 3-0 loss at Newcastle and 4-0 at Sunderland - along with 0-4 v Hull, 0-3 against Crystal Palace a 0-3 loss against arch-rivals Swansea presented Cardiff as a helpless and lacklustre side, with an apparent lack of belief in their coach and philosophy - much like the Manchester United of late.

As Solskjaer discovered with the Bluebirds, managing Molde in Norway and taking charge of a Premier League team in Cardiff are worlds apart - never mind the giant status of Manchester United. 

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Despite being booed off in his final game in charge for Cardiff City, Solskjaer is likely to receive a warm welcome from the Welsh crowd when the two sides meet before Christmas. He isn't blamed for their relegation - he did take on a club with more problems off the pitch than on it - but his appointment to one of the top jobs in world football is still a bizarre concept to grasp for many Bluebirds fans.

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