Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will “do an amazing job” at Manchester United, says Denis Irwin, with one 1999 Treble winner being backed by another to handle the “incredible” pressure of working at Old Trafford.
Having been a fan favourite in his playing days, a familiar face was returned to the Theatre of Dreams in December 2018.
Jose Mourinho had been ushered through the exits, with Solskjaer initially asked to steady the ship on an interim basis.
Having delivered on that remit, the Norwegian was then handed a three-year contract and charged with the task of bringing the good times back for the 13-time Premier League champions.
The odd question has been asked of his suitability to such a demanding role, given his lack of coaching experience at the very highest level, but signs of encouragement are being offered.
Irwin is among those buying into a long-term project and says Solskjaer’s presence at the helm comes as no surprise.
The legendary former United defender told ‘The Old Footballers Club’ on Switchbox TV: “I had six, seven years with Ole and he was very studious. He was very involved in the game.
“It’s a well-known fact that when he was sub he used to take it all in and try to work on a defender’s weaknesses when he went on.
“A highly intelligent man and I think he knows what he wants. I’m not surprised at all that he went into management.
“It was tough taking over Manchester United. He went on an incredible run when he took over and this year is his first year with a pre-season. I think he’s signed some great players, particularly [Bruno] Fernandes in the January window.
“Pre-Christmas I think we were up and down a little bit, but then we went on a run where we have really got ourselves challenging for that European spot. I think Ole will do an amazing job.”
Solskjaer has United in the hunt for a top-four finish this season, with competitive action having resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Champions League qualification considered to be the very least that the Red Devils should be aiming for.
With such a rich history behind them, one of the biggest clubs in world football are expected to be much more than also-rans – with any manager taking the reins fully aware of that fact.
Irwin added: “They are under so much pressure.
“There is so much money involved in the Premier League and teams like us want to be up there, winning titles and certainly being in the Champions League.
“There is so much pressure on managers these days, it’s like a revolving door. But Ole knows the history of the club, he knows what the club is all about.
“He’s tried to bring everybody back together as more of a unit as much as possible and I think we’re heading in the right direction.
“You need to be thick-skinned, but the amount of pressure managers are under is incredible.”