Norwegian football legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær was being hailed in Oslo Sunday for coaching Molde Football Club to victory in the country’s annual cup final. Molde beat arch-rival Rosenborg of Trondheim by a score of 4-2.
The cup final plays out every year at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo and remains wildly popular in Norway, even at a time when football in general has lost much of its allure. Members of the royal family usually attend and the sun was even shining in Oslo on Sunday afternoon, in the midst of an otherwise dark and dreary November.
Solskjær, the former Manchester United star, was credited with turning around what many called a crisis at Molde after a weak beginning of the season. He’d made a highly successful debut as head coach just a couple years ago, but suddenly his team wasn’t performing very well.
That was all forgotten on Sunday, after Solskjær’s squad turned a dismal spring into a powerful autumn. Knut Olav Rindarøy, who was among those scoring for Molde on Sunday, cited simple but good psychological tactics by their coach, telling state broadcaster NRK that Solskjær simply got the guys to believe they could win. Solskjær was more keen to credit his players.
“There’s no secret behind what we did,” he told NRK. “It’s all about hard work and many good players who have a lot of character.”
Solskjær said he “maybe spoke a bit differently to them. It was important not to make this too serious, but also remember that we should have fun as well.”
The Norwegian women’s football cup also played out at Ullevaal over the weekend, with Stabæk beating Avaldsnes 1-0 on Saturday. Stabæk, a club in Bærum just west of Oslo, has been on a roll, winning the league championship as well and qualifying to play in the Champions League next year.