Ander Herrera: I'd give Solskjaer the job tomorrow – but I still have so much respect for Mourinho
Former Norway striker Solskjaer, who as a United player lifted six Premier League titles and scored the winner in the 1999 Champions League Final, has proved an unlikely hit since returning as the club’s interim manager in December 2018.
The Red Devils were in 6th place, 11 points adrift of Champions League qualification, when Jose Mourinho was sacked after a 3-1 defeat to arch rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
However, Solskjaer has revitalised the squad and won 13 of his opening 16 games in charge, propelling United back into the top four and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup following impressive victories at both Arsenal and Chelsea.
Herrera headed the opener in United’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge – one of eight away triumphs since Solskjaer stepped in.
The Spaniard believes his relationship with the entire United squad is a big reason behind the dramatic change in fortunes, and wouldn’t hesitate to hand him a full-time position if he was in charge of a club.
Speaking exclusively in the April 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out Wednesday, he says: “It’s not my business and I respect the decisions of the people that work for the club.
“All I can say is that if I was sporting director of a club tomorrow, I would sign Ole. But I respect the people that take the decisions and I’m not going to say what they should do.
“Ole has a quality that is difficult to have in football, which is to have the affection of all the players – the players who play and the ones who don’t play as much.
“I don’t know how he did it, but he had that click with players who can change games. He’s clicked with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.
“He’s very close to the players, but he also knows that sometimes he needs to stay away and not give too much information to the players day by day.
“When he speaks, everybody listens, because he is saying something important – something that can help the team to win.
“He’s not interfering every minute and that’s a quality as well. Every time he speaks, you listen, because he doesn’t always give you information.”
But the former Athletic Bilbao schemer is also keen to stress how much respect he has for Mourinho, who helped him to become United’s player of the year in 2017.
“The only thing I can say is thank you to him because he improved me as a player,” Herrera tells FFT. “He did everything for the club to try to win.
“Actually, the first season was very successful. In the second season we lost the FA Cup final and finished 2nd, so maybe if we had won that final, we could have said that season was successful too.
“I’m very thankful to Mourinho for what he did for me and for the club. I became player of the year under him. He did good things for me.
“I have a good relationship with him and, of course, I spoke to him when he left. He texted me a very nice message – something private between me and him. I have so much respect for him.”
Read the full interview with Ander Herrera in the April 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which also features exclusive chats with Virgil van Dijk, Lucas Moura and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Plus, we hail some of the greatest centre-backs of all time, watch the East End team made up entirely of Brazilians, go One-on-One with Dion Dublin and head to Thessaloniki to watch a table-topping bout between PAOK and Olympiakos.