Norway’s biggest football personality, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, made the worst possible start to his career as head coach of Molde football club (MFK) on Monday, losing 5-1 in a friendly match to Tromsø and seeing one of his best players suffer a long-term injury.
Arguably the most famous Norwegian in the world, Solskjær, an internationally-renowned striker from his day’s in England’s Premier League, was appointed as manager of his former club to great fanfare this winter. But he could not have imagined a more lacklustre opening to his reign during the friendly match, played near to the club’s current training camp on the Costa del Sol in Spain.
During the game, star defender Børre Steenslid injured the cruciate ligaments in his knee, forcing him out of competition for around half a year. He received the injury while challenging Tromsø’s Steffen Nyström for the ball. MFK’s physiotherapist, Leif Arne Lystad, believes the cruciate ligaments were damaged when he received an accidental kick to the foot during the challenge, which caused a rotation and then saw his knee come into contact with the ground.
Solskjær is resigned to the injury. “If we get him playing again during the season, that will be a bonus for us,” the former Manchester United star told newspaper Aftenposten. “He will get the time he needs, and we will take care of him.”
Solskjær also said that he had no plans to sign a replacement, as he still has four central defenders to choose from.
The injury occurred just 10 minutes into the match. Tromsø took the lead soon after through Remi Johansen. The northern Norwegians doubled their lead 10 minutes later and never looked back, adding another three goals. MFK’s only reply came by way of a 57th-minute penalty, converted by Magne Hoseth.
Commenting on the match, Solskjær said that he “did not believe that we were ready.” Nevertheless, Solskjær was quick to point to the “many good experiences” they had enjoyed during the trip to Spain, especially an earlier good performance against Ukraine’s Karpaty.
MFK will play Spanish club Elche and Poland’s Wisla Krakow before leaving the Costa del Sol on Thursday.