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'Express yourselves' - Solskjaer calls on star names to play the Man Utd way

19:18 GMT 20/12/2018
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United
The Norwegian has thrown down the gauntlet to his squad after taking Red Devils training for the first time on Thursday

Manchester United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his players to "express themselves" as he prepares to take charge of the side for the first time against Cardiff City this weekend.

Former United striker Solskjaer made a dramatic return to Old Trafford this week following the departure of Jose Mourinho.

The Norwegian has signed a deal until the end of the season, when he is expected to return to his full-time club Molde.

He takes charge of a United side sixth in the Premier League and 19 points behind leaders Manchester City following Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Speaking ahead of his first game against former club Cardiff on Saturday, Solskjaer says his focus in the lead-up to the match will be on his players, rather than the opposition.

Solskjaer told MUTV: "We’ve got a great set-up, with all the analysts. When I came in this morning they were watching Cardiff. Of course I’ve watched the Premier League, I’ve seen all the teams so I’ve got a little bit of a view on them.

"But it’s not about the opposition it’s about us, it’s about Man Utd, it’s about our players knowing what they can do, seeing them express themselves.

"So my main focus will be on us, how we want the team play and then will give a few details on the opposition.”

Solskjaer admits it has been an emotional few days as he returns to club he served with such distinction between 1996 and 2007.

The 45-year-old is also keen to play down his prospects of taking the job full-time, with the search for Mourinho’s permanent replacement already under way.

“It feels like coming home. It’s been a few whirlwind days, very hectic, but great to see everyone again,” he added.

“It’s six months and I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m back home and it’s about seeing the players, seeing the staff, and of course just being myself.

“I know the club is now running a process to find the next manager so I’m going to just be myself in the meantime with Mick [Phelan] of course, and Kieran [McKenna] and Michael [Carrick] and the rest of the staff.

"We will get the players enjoying their football and looking forward to seeing the supporters again.”

Solskjaer has also been reflecting on his first arrival at Manchester United in the summer of 1996.

The striker a relative unknown outside of his native Norway when he moved to England but would go on to win 12 major honours at Old Trafford, including scoring the injury-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final.

“The first thing I noticed was that it’s a family club. Everyone is so tight-knit,” he said. “And then I noticed the winning mentality. Attacking football, giving youth a chance and winning.

“It’s the biggest club in the world, best supporters in the world, best players in the world.”