Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hit a rocky patch after taking first Premier League managerial job at Cardiff City in 2014.
The Bluebirds ended up getting relegated and Solskjaer was unable to mount a serious promotion quest in the Championship the following season. He was sacked by September after landing the job in January.
Some people decided to hold it against the Norwegian when he was appointed caretaker manager, and after his first 10-games Solskjaer remains unbeaten as Manchester United manager.
Solskjaer admits he “wasn’t ready for that fight” at Cardiff, but they were in a right mess that season and he doesn’t deserve full responsibility.
Compare that spell to the one he’s having now. Solskjaer has trived on his Premier League return because he knows “the DNA and identity of Manchester United.”
After the nightmare at Cardiff, Solskjaer returned to Molde to rebuild his reputation as a football manager which has reached a new high since replacing the sacked José Mourinho in December.
He feels better suited to a club he knows as a player than one at the opposite side of the table.
Solskjaer spoke to Sky Sports about his time at Cardiff: “It wasn’t the right decision, to be fair. But you live and you learn.”
He added how things have changed since becoming interim boss at United: “This is a completely different club and situation to come into.
“I know the culture and identity of the club and the playing style. Manchester United, of course, suits me a lot more than a club that struggles towards the bottom of the table.
“I wasn’t ready for that fight. I didn’t say I wasn’t ready for the Premier League. That’s different.
“My belief is to trust players and to trust them to play the right way. To try to dominate teams, to try to win games the right way. To play the way that we do now with Manchester United.
“I should have flipped that mentality into a different one at a team that struggles against relegation if you know what I mean.”
Like I said above, holding Solskjaer solely responsible for what happened at Cardiff would be harsh, and it’s great that he’s back in the Premier League proving himself.
Even if he doesn’t land the United job at the end of the season, Solskjaer will attract attention from clubs all over Europe after the work he’s done at United over the past month. We just hope it can continue for the remainder of the season, even if a couple of slips are expected along the way.
Solskjaer has the Reds back in contention for a top-four finish this season, with Champions League qualification for next season in major doubt otherwise. United also have an away tie in the FA Cup against Chelsea coming up this month.
“It is easier here because I know what the DNA and identity of Manchester United is and what a Manchester United player is,” the Treble-winning icon added.
“It’s a winning identity. It’s a confident identity.
“We want to take risks. We want to go for the second, the third and the fourth goal because that’s just how we do things at Manchester United.
“If you can’t handle that then you are at the wrong club.”