Man Utd win ‘puts Solskjaer up there’ with elite bosses – pundit

Joe Williams
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can win the Europa League tonight with Man Utd it “puts him up there” with the “elite” managers, according to Ally McCoist.

The Norwegian, who won two league titles in Norway with Molde, has yet to taste success as a manager at Old Trafford.

Man Utd play Villarreal on Wednesday night in the Europa League final as Solskjaer looks to win his first silverware as Red Devils boss.

Europa final failure not an option for Solskjaer and Man Utd

And Rangers legend McCoist thinks Solskjaer will push himself closer to the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola if he beats the Spanish side.

“He’s not one of the elite, let’s be honest,” McCoist told talkSPORT.

“He hasn’t had the chance to win major trophies like Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp but this is a stepping stone in terms of his coaching and managerial career.

“United haven’t won anything in four years – they’ve got to win it. They have to win it.

“And if they do win it I think it’s a good season for them. Europa League champions, second place and in the Champions League next year, I do think it’s a good season for them.

“Then he has the opportunity and potential to bring one or two new faces in and go again and progress with his team.

“If they win tonight, it puts him up there with managers who have had great success but not with the longevity of the likes Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Meanwhile, Solskjaer thinks victory for Man Utd in the Europa League final could be the launchpad of a successful era for the club.

“We have five wins in Europe,” the Norwegian said. “We’ve lost twice to Barcelona.

“These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for something better to come, a bright future because this team is a young team.

“It’s a team that we’ve rebuilt over the last couple of years, so hopefully this is the start of something more.”

The Premier League side are set to face Villarreal in Gdansk without their captain Harry Maguire.

The England centre-back travelled as part of a 26-man squad but did not train in Poland on Tuesday and is likely to sit out United’s eighth major European final.

Man Utd have won five of them – overcoming Benfica, Bayern Munich and Chelsea to lift European Cups, Barcelona to win the Cup Winners’ Cup and most recently Ajax in the 2017 Europa League final – with their two defeats coming in Champions League finals against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.