Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, says Juan Mata, with a man who once played under the iconic Scot seeking to put a similar blueprint for success in place.
A member of the Red Devils’ 1999 Treble-winning squad has taken on a sizeable rebuilding project at Old Trafford.
He was handed the reins on the back of Jose Mourinho’s departure in December 2018 and charged with the task of steadying a sinking ship.
Solskjaer’s initial impact earned him a three-year contract, but there have been bumps in the road since a honeymoon period came to an end.
The Norwegian is looking to work through those, with United considered to still be several transfer windows and seasons away from becoming title challengers again, but Mata sees important lessons being taken from legendary sides of the past.
The World Cup winner, who has been with the Red Devils since January 2014, told UEFA: “[Ole’s] philosophy comes from his experience as a player here.
“He played under Sir Alex Ferguson, possibly the greatest manager in history: a coach who could move with the times and continue to win, despite numerous changes to his squads.
“I think that’s what Ole is trying to achieve. He’s trying to turn United into the side they once were: an attacking team who always look to score; a team that wins trophies.
“Let’s hope that proves to be the case.”
United have gone two seasons without major silverware, with a Europa League triumph in 2017 the latest entry on their roll of honour.
Mata formed part of that success under Mourinho and, having collected the same trophy during his time at Chelsea, is looking to complete a notable hat-trick in 2019-20.
The Spain international added ahead of a continental opener against Astana on Thursday, with memories of a success which saw Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan find the target still vivid: “It was the first time the club won this tournament and it was great to beat an Ajax side, who went on to be a great team in the following years.
“Whenever you win a European competition, it’s special. I hope I can win it for a third time.”