London: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer possesses the qualities necessary to restore Manchester United as a genuine title contender, according to departing midfielder Anders Herrera. The 29-year-old Spanish international — who has been linked to a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain — believes the common decency of Solskjaer will be rewarded with better performances on the pitch. Solskjaer’s star faded almost as soon as he was given the job full-time after a terrific spell as caretaker manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December.
The former United striker guided them to 14 wins in 17 games but the end of the season has been nothing short of a disaster as they lost eight of their last 12 — ending up 32 points off city rivals and champions Manchester City — and missed out on Champions League football next term.
“He is one of the best people I have ever met in football,” said Herrera, quitting United after the club declined to offer him a new contract when he demanded increased wages of £300,000 ($388,000) a week.
“Everyone loves him in the dressing room. Everyone wants to fight for him.
“When you have the players behind you and wanting to fight for you, part of the job is done.
“I believe in karma and if you are a good person, if you are honest and sincere with the players and the fans, sooner or later it will work.
“I think Ole is the right person because he has qualities and knowledge but also he is a great man and a great person.”
‘The right person is at the wheel’
Herrera, who is likely to be followed out the door by a slew of players in the close season, added Solskjaer and his coaching staff needed the fans to be patient as the turn around will take time.
Solskjaer showed there was a harder edge to him when he cancelled an end-of-season review with the players because he was so angry at the limp display in the 2-0 home defeat by relegated Cardiff in their final match of the season.
“I really believe in Ole. I really believe in Michael (Carrick), Kieran (McKenna), Mick Phelan, in Demps (Mark Dempsey), but I think there is a tough job ahead,” said Herrera.
“They (the coaches) need time because this is not going to be from the first day. The club will need time, confidence and support.
“I am sure they will give it but the only thing I ask for them is time because this is not easy.
“(But) the right person is at the wheel. He’s the right person.”
Aside from Herrera veteran defender Antonio Valencia is also leaving on a free transfer, whilst several others including Juan Mata, inconsistent French World Cup winner Paul Pogba and even Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku are thought to be on the way out.
According to Tuesday’s Daily Mirror Solskjaer is keen to bring in fresh blood in the shape of Senegalese international central defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Serie A side Napoli and Ivory Coast striker Nicolas Pepe from Ligue 1 outfit Lille.
Koulibaly, the Mirror claims, would cost even more than the £75 million Liverpool paid Southampton for Dutch central defender Virgil van Dijk whilst Pepe would not be cheap either, the paper citing a figure of £45 million. — AFP