Former Cardiff striker Tommy Smith opens up on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggles at the club


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named as Manchester United's permanent manager on Thursday, signing a contract that keeps him at Old Trafford for the next three years. 

He made the perfect audition as interim boss, taking over from Jose Mourinho last December. 

In the three months since he's been in the hot seat, Man United have been rejuvenated. 

Under Solskjaer, the team have won 14 times from 19 games and have moved back into top-four contention despite being way behind their rivals at the turn of the year. 

The Red Devils have also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a famous turnaround against Paris Saint-Germain in their last 16 tie. 

So, things are really looking up at Old Trafford and with Ole at the wheel, many are expecting United to challenge for the title next season. 

But not everyone is completely convinced that Solskjaer is cut out for one of the biggest jobs in European football. 

The Norwegian's only other high profile management experience came in a rather forgettable spell at Cardiff City in 2014. 

Cardiff City v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

The Bluebirds won just nine times from 30 games and lost 16 times in the nine months Solskjaer spent at the Welsh club before he was sacked.  

And one of his former players has raised an issue following United's decision to make the baby-faced assassin their permanent manager, by saying that Solskjaer is a bad man manager.

"I didn't get that feel from him that he was a great man-manager," former Cardiff striker Tommy Smith told Love Sport Radio


"But he is a nice man and he's obviously gone into the dressing room there and it's just working for him."

Smith also admitted that he was surprised when United offered Solskjaer the job full-time - because he struggled so much in Wales.

"Initially, I was surprised when they announced he was interim manager. Just from what I'd seen at Cardiff – he struggled, to be honest. I didn't think it was going to work," Smith continued.


"I was probably one of his biggest critics. He took on a lot at Cardiff.

"We were struggling at the bottom of the Premier League and it's always tough to come in under those circumstances and pressures.

"We were a level lower than he probably ever played with. His recruitment wasn't great and that's probably why his reign came to an end." 

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - FA Cup Quarter Final

It sounds like Smith certainly isn't Solskjaer's biggest fan. And he's raised a worrying point. 

If Ole couldn't man manage the Cardiff dressing room effectively, it's hard to see him maintaining control over the big egos in United's dressing room should things start to go wrong. 

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