OLE Gunnar Solskjaer insists Sir Alex Ferguson has supported his decision to join Cardiff and rejected suggestions the Scot had warned him off the job as “absolute nonsense”.
The former Manchester United striker and Molde manager was confirmed as Malky Mackay’s successor yesterday afternoon.
The 40-year-old had been Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman’s first choice from the outset, and the Norwegian’s appointment appeared inevitable after he attended the Bluebirds’ defeat at Arsenal with Dalman and owner Vincent Tan.
There has been surprise in some quarters that Solskjaer has taken on the task of working with Tan, particularly after reports earlier in the week that he had reservations in the wake of the Malaysian’s disputes with Mackay over recent months, and that Ferguson had told him to turn down the job.
But Dalman’s promise of money to spend in January and reassurances over the working structure at the club have convinced Solskjaer, who has signed a rolling contract, to come on board.
He said: “I have had good contact with the gaffer (Ferguson). He has wished me all the best and given me some good advice as he always does.
“When you worked for him you could ask him for advice and I had a good conversation with him. It is absolute nonsense (that he told me to turn down Cardiff).”
But Solskjaer, who met the Cardiff squad yesterday morning, made it clear he has received assurances that he will be the main man when it comes to football decisions.
“I have had great chats with the owner and Mehmet and they have told me they want me to be in charge of the football and for me I do not need any more confirmation,” he added.
“I go into this with my eyes open and I want the fans to be proud of us when we go on the pitch.
“I will only ask my players for 100 per cent, which was hammered down to me with the gaffer and Roy Keane at Manchester United. We can forgive mistakes as long as we have a go and enjoy playing in the Premier League.
“I felt I needed to be back here and I want to stay for the long, long term.’’
Solskjaer will bring in former United coaches Mark Dempsey and Richard Hartis to work with him in the Welsh capital as he starts his reign with the Bluebirds one point and one position above the relegation zone after one win from ten games.
He revealed that he has already had phone calls from people wanting to work with him at Cardiff.
“What is important is we get continuity and stability,” he said. “I have had numerous phone calls already from agents and staff who want to come and join the club. They know it is a great place to work and a great club to work for, so I have to step back and take my time.”
Solskjaer has also vowed to put the emphasis on attacking football in order to get Cardiff out of trouble.
He said: “I have a positive outlook on football, I want the players to express themselves. They love playing football, getting forward, running forward.
“My brand of football is forward-minded and we saw yesterday (in the 2-0 defeat by Arsenal) when you secure the ball and give it to Jordon Mutch and have Fraizer Campbell, Kim Bo-kyung and Craig Noone running forward, they cause problems, so we want forward football.”
Solskjaer leaves Molde having delivered two league titles and a cup to the club. Dalman has no doubt the Norwegian can make the step up to managing in the Premier League.
“He has played and won at the highest level as a player and has been successful in Norway,’’ he said.
“He is coming here to prove something to himself.”