Former Manchester United midfielder Jordi Cruyff has compared Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Solskjaer is currently serving as United’s caretaker manager until the end of the 2018-19 season and he has enjoyed a fantastic start to his reign, masterminding a nine-match unbeaten run across all competitions.
The Norwegian has quickly emerged as a genuine candidate to earn the job on a permanent basis, restoring the feel-good factor at Old Trafford and getting the best out of the team’s top players.
The Red Devils are now firmly in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish and they are still in with a shout of winning the Champions League and FA Cup, having recovered from a nightmare first half of the season under Jose Mourinho.
According to Cruyff, who played for United between 1996 and 2000, Solskjaer has been successful because he knows the DNA of the club, just as Pep Guardiola did when he was given the top job at Barcelona back in 2008.
The Spaniard went on to mould one of the greatest clubs sides in football history at the Camp Nou and Cruyff pointed out the similarities between him and United’s interim head coach.
“Normally, players who have been at the club understand the DNA,” The Dutchman told The Times. “Guardiola was Barcelona B, came to the first team, knew what was necessary and the results are obvious.
“In Ole’s case, he has let the players take responsibility. He’s peaceful. He’s not making conflicts in the media, saying something to see if he can motivate the player in a provocative way.”
Cruyff’s time at Old Trafford was blighted by injuries, but he still managed to rack up 55 appearances in total for the club and got to see Solskjaer in his prime as one of Europe’s most deadly strikers.
The 44-year-old coach – who is the son of the legendary Johan Cruyff – also praised Solskjaer for his unique style of play and for the attributes which make him well suited to the role of a top manager.
“As a person, Ole was always very calm, a family man,” Cruyff added, as per The Times.
“We knew each other well. As a player, Ole wasn’t super-fast, tall or a shielder [of the ball]. He just worked hard but he had an amazing instinct and ability to score goals.
“He had a ‘loose’ ankle – when somebody without looking knows where the goal is and can always find the corner [of the net]. The only one I saw like that was [the 1991 Ballon d’Or winner Jean-Pierre] Papin. Boom. The ball was in the net.
“The most important thing was Ole never put his ego before the interests of the club. It doesn’t surprise me he’s become a coach. He’s a stable guy, a club man, and those kind of characters normally end up being coaches.”