Manchester United legend Sammy McIlroy knows a thing or two about being asked to take your dream job when people feel you don’t have the right experience. And he has backed recently sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, commending the work he did at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer was dismissed last Sunday after a run of poor results and performances and McIlroy – who was given the Northern Ireland job in 2000 following a few years at Macclesfield – sympathises with the task the Norwegian had, and believes that he will be more fairly judged in the years to come.
“I think it’s completely fair to say that the work he did will only be fully appreciated over time,” McIlroy exclusively told TalkOfTheDevils. “I think time will prove that he was the ideal man to do the work that was required after Jose Mourinho left. He knew the club, he know how the fans want to play, he understood the pressure that came with the job and he made Manchester United a good place to be around again.”
“I’m not just talking about the players. There are people behind the scenes, the everyday working situation at the club, and Ole restored a certain harmony and a feel around the club that was difficult to do as we saw by his predecessors.”
“He obviously needed a bit of luck with results. There were some semi-finals and the Europa League Final and you could draw comparisons with Wilf McGuinness and say that if he had won just one final, you never know. Ole tried and gave it his all. Unfortunately it didn’t work out on the pitch and he knew at the end that results weren’t good enough, but he did a good job of putting the club back on the right path to achieve better things.”
McIlroy has voiced his support for Ralf Rangnick, though confesses he did not know too much about the German coach before he was linked to the club this week.
“I’ll be completely honest and say I don’t know much,” he says. “I’ve read about the jobs he did at Hoffenheim and Leipzig and he’s obviously got lots of experience and is highly thought of by top coaches. Maybe this is a figure we’ve needed for a long time. He knows how to run and stabilise a club, that much is clear, but it is the first time United have ever done something like this. With the experience he has let’s hope we’re on the right road because we can’t make more mistakes as far as managers are concerned. And, if it goes well, then he’ll obviously be involved in identifying the permanent manager, so let’s hope that we’ve got it right now.”