OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER
'Solskjaer – 90+3' is a small sentence with big meaning for Manchester United fans.
That was the official timing (92.17 to be precise) given when Norwegian forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer poked the ball home to secure United's remarkable Champions League final victory against Bayern Munich in 1999.
It was Solskjaer's defining moment as a player. He might have hated the tag, but he was United's super sub. And coming on to score the winner in a Champions League final is as super as it gets.
The 'Baby Faced Assassin' scored 126 goals in 366 Man United appearances, many of which came as a substitute.
His most famous super sub performance involved scoring four goals in just 12 minutes in an 8-1 demolition of Nottingham Forest. When United beat Everton 5-1 the next season, Solskjaer scored four of them.
His international record mirrored his club one, Solskjaer scoring 23 times in 67 Norway appearances before injury curtailed his playing days.
He immediately took up coaching, overseeing first the strikers and then the reserve team at Old Trafford. He then went back to Norway as coach of Molde. Two league titles and a Norwegian Cup followed, prompting Cardiff City to secure his return to the English top-flight.
Ironically, long spells on the United bench may well have contributed to his success as a coach. As he said himself, 'I sat there and I studied football games but I didn't exactly analyse their strikers. Instead I would pay attention to what the defenders and full-backs were doing wrong.'
Super sub to super coach? The omens are certainly good.
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