Kolkata: Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, the Manchester United manager whose young side has sealed a runners-up finish in the Premier League despite a 4-2 loss at home to Liverpool on Thursday, received a pat on the back from none other than the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.
“He (Solksjaer) had a will that he wanted to be a manager, and at a club like Manchester United, it’s a result industry, without question,” Sir Alex told BBC about the Norwegian who replaced Jose Mourinho as manager in 2018.
In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, the Scot spoke also of his pride in United striker Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals and explained why he opposed plans for a closed European Super League.
The 79-year-old, one of the greatest managers of all time, was in charge when Solksjaer played for United, said: “If you don’t get results there’s questions to be asked. He is getting the results, he really has done very well.
“And what is really important for this club is to introduce young people, and he’s given young players a chance.
“The young guys, if they are good enough, play them. Never a problem at this club,” said Ferguson, who gave plenty of chances to youngsters at United - including future England captain David Beckham.
You cannot ever forget that the real reason for football was that the smallest guy can climb to the top of Everest, and that’s the best way I can put that. We can’t do without that really
United have not won the league title since Ferguson’s last in 2012-13 but under Solskjaer they are second in the Premier League, behind champions Manchester City, and have reached the Europa League final.
Ferguson, who felt he had been given “three years extra” after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2018, said he phoned Rashford to show his support for the 23-year-old England international’s campaign.
“I was so proud of him, I really was,” he said, speaking ahead of the release this month of a new documentary, directed by his son Jason, about his life.
The guru of coaching also praised Liverpool and Manchester City managers Juergen Klopp and Pep Guardiola for the drive they had brought to their clubs, and felt he had a similar energy.
He said modern players were more fragile and needed more care, however.
Earlier, Ferguson told Reuters last month that a breakaway European Super League would be a move away from 70 years of football history and he said on Thursday every club should be able to dream of reaching the top.
“You cannot ever forget that the real reason for football was that the smallest guy can climb to the top of Everest, and that’s the best way I can put that. We can’t do without that really,” he added.