Football legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær had his first days on the job this week as new head coach for the Molde Football Club. It’s a far cry from his heady years at Manchester United but Solskjær claims he now just wants to make Molde “an even better club.”
Solskjær, highly respected both in and out of his native Norway, wanted to move home with his wife and children, trading the life he knew playing for one of the top clubs in the world to coach a much smaller club just over the mountains from his native Kristiansund.
That’s not to say there’s no pressure anymore, far from it, but Solskjær told reporters this week he’s not afraid that expectations of him will be too high in Molde. He alone can’t turn the club into an automatic winner of Norway’s top league. He does plan to exploit the hype and expectations, though.
“I’ll do my best so that Molde will be an even better club,” he told reporters. “Rosenborg (of Trondheim) and Vålerenga (of Oslo) will probably be the favorites, but we should be able to blend in between the clubs and fight to qualify for the European cup.”
His player roster isn’t final yet, but Solskjær has up to NOK 20 million from club benefactor, businessman and investor Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, to lure new talent to Molde. He already attracted Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who’s returning to Molde after being plucked up himself by Manchester United as a 16-year-old. Wolff Eikrem ended up on the reserve team, denies his time in Manchester was unsuccessful and is glad to be back in Molde on a three-year contract.
“I could have gone to other clubs, but it was incredibly important in my decision that Ole Gunnar Solskjær would be coaching Molde,” Wolff Eikrem, now age 20, told newspaper Aftenposten. Solskjær thinks his old mentor and coach at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, will be watching Wolff Eikrem’s development and may snare him yet again.
Solskjær paid tribute to Ferguson as he launched his coaching career, calling him “amazing to watch” and saying Ferguson has “the desire of always wanting to get the best out of you” in an interview with UEFA.com. Solskjær said he has “learned so much” from Ferguson and seemed keen to put what he’s learned into practice.
Molde’s first league match under Solskjær’s guidance will be on March 20 against Sarpsborg, with the first match at home in Molde’s Aker Stadium on April 3. Season ticket sales have been setting records, largely because of Solskjær.