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Ole Rebuilding the Culture at Man Utd

Solskjær Talks To The High Performance Podcast

- Full Transcription -

Jake:

Hi there. I'm Jake Humphrey and you're listening to high-performance the podcast that delves into the minds of some of the most successful athletes, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and artists on the planet, and aims to unlock their very secrets to their success as always Damien Hughes, as alongside me and Damien. We're lucky enough to be at the place that has cultivated and improved the players that you've cheered as a Manchester United fan over the years. I think this is an episode that you're going to enjoy.

Damian:

Oh yeah. Yeah. I've got, I've been looking forward to this for a long time. We're in the home of champions.. So, I'm looking forward to finding out a bit more about what makes a champion.

Jake:

Brilliant. I wish I could say the same about Norwich City, but there you go. Yet today we are at the Manchester United training ground Carrington, talking to a man who, as I'm sure you know, scored one of Manchester, United's most famous, ever goals. He now leads them as a manager, but what did he learn here as a player under sir, Alex Ferguson? What are the good things that have happened in his career that he's learned from and the bad as well? How does he take individuals and lead them to collective glory? And what can you listen to this podcast? Learn from him to live a more high-performance life. Welcome to the podcast. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, thank you

Ole:

Thank you very much. A pleasure to be here, I listen to you before. So I'm might as well join in.

Jake:

So you've listened to the pod. What do you think?

Ole:

I like to listen to champions, I like to listen and know a little bit more about what makes winners tick, of course, and obviously being a Man United Manager now and a previous player, I've always tried to make the most of my talents. And this is an opportunity for me to, to learn off some, some good ones.

Jake:

And I suppose it also leads to the fact that despite everything you've achieved as a player and as a manager, and the fact that you're now in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world, you're someone that thinks you can still keep learning, still keep improving.

Ole:

Yeah, I think so. I think everyone can learn all the time. And that's what I learned when I came here as a, as a player as well, uh, that players like David Beckham, Roy Keane, and Paul Scholes, they always wanted to improve and better cause today I, I think so. Anyway, I believe so. It, the day you think you're, you're the finish or you're the real deal, I think that's when you go downwards and, uh, uh, I'm always trying to improve myself and the club and the players.

Jake:

So we always start with the same question, which is in your mind, what is high performance?

Ole:

Making the best out of, uh, the potential, uh, and either you as an individual or as a team or the club as a whole, I think high performance is knowing when you, when you leave the door that you've done everything you can to, uh, to stay at the top.

Damian:

Where did that lesson come from? Ole that I know your Das was a successful wrestler. How were they did that lesson of, of getting everything out of your potential starts to drop with you?

Ole:

I think I've always, actually not always, that's maybe wrong, but I've always been a willing to learn humble enough to, to try to improve. And I never thought about myself as one of the best, most talented ones. So I had to find other ways to make the most of my talent. And that stayed with me all the time. I think during my time at Clausenengen and Molde, and then here at money United and then as a manager as well.

Jake:

So when you ended up here at Manchester United as a player and you openly admit you didn't feel like you were one of the most talented ones, how do you have a mindset of not being overruled by the talent around you and thinking to yourself, right. I'm going to take on the strikers around me as a challenge to be better.

Ole:

Yeah. It's a fine balance between being humble and being quietly confident, believe in yourself enough. I think I was a quiet quietly confident guy and then believing in my own abilities. I knew I had an X factor of scoring goals and that was my forte, but I will also humble enough to try to learn from Andy Cole, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Any, Any, all the players got different quality attributes and qualities. And, um, well for me, it's, um, that's, that's the secret to be confident enough to trust yourself all the time, but all the way also humble enough to work hard. And that's instilled into us from, from early on, plus from Sir Alex.

Damian:

So when you arrived then from Norway and you first came into what would have been the cliff at the time, or like what was, what was the biggest difference that the stroke here in those early days?

Ole:

Well, for me, I just played with better players. I, that meant I got more opportunities to score goals and yeah, of course they were better opponents as well. But early on in my life, I, I was quite good at imagining and living, living the life of, so the goal I scored against by Munich, for example, I'd scored hundreds or maybe thousands of times before, eh, on the field, back home, on my own, going through one-on-one imagining if I score now, if I hit the bottom corner, I'll win the Champions League or Euro the European cup as it was called when I was young. So it was just to push my, our always, I've always loved creating my own atmosphere and then testing myself. So when I came here, it's like, well, just do you do the things that you've always done what you've learned, but do them a bit quicker. But my finishes were both them corners. So Serena Tassa, F he was the best keeper when I grew up. Uh, he wouldn't even save my finishes, even when I was 15. That that's, that was my mindset. Practice acid was a cup final.

Damian:

Was it like visualisation that no, like sports psychologists now talk about the importance of visualisation? Will you, did anyone teach you that? Or was that just something you'd learn?

Ole:

I think it was just in a, in me, I was so keen and watching football and so goals being scored and I saw keep, is making saves. And there's an opening there. And if, if it hit the top corner or bottom corner, he's got no chance. And I still believe that there's no such thing as a good safe, it's just about the finish.

 

But there's so many times, and it used to bug me big time in training, that he shouted hit the target, make the goalkeeper better making mistake when I missed the target. But as soon as that ball left my foot, I knew if it's a good finish or about finish. And if you just hit the post and out, I knew that just a slight millimetre to the left or to the right on my boot would make that ball go in. So quiet in my mind, I said, shut up, you, I know what I'm doing. And that, that will go in on Saturday.

Jake:

You know what I like about that as well, is that even at a young age, that's you taking 100% responsibility for yourself? Cause I think all too often, let's take football. As the, as the lesson here, young players will go, well, I did. All right, but the Goal Keeper was brilliant. Whereas in your head, you're saying if that goalkeeper saves it, I'm the one that's failed. And I, I do love, you were at that young age, you were taking full responsibility for yourself.

Ole:

Yeah. I, and I, I truly believe that as well. That's, uh, it, it was always down to me that finish was an, as I said before, my teammates were so much better. I created chances by my movement and a new David Beckham is going to put the cross in and then I'm just ready to finish. And if you saved it, most of the time I have there's actually one time or not twice, twice one in my testimonial, the Espanol goalkeeper made a save. He should have just let that go because this my testimonial, he'd never read the script, but there's one say from Jens, Lehman at Arsenal down in the bottom corner, he saves and I'm like, wow, what a save. But when I look at it, maybe I could have put it more in the corner.

Jake:

Does that come from, did your parents instilled in you, a mindset of being responsible for you?

Ole:

Definitely it's from probably more from my dad as he was an athlete himself. He was actually picked for the Norwegian national team for Wrestling before my grandma and granddad knew that he was, doing so he did it sneakily. So he wrestled and he just, it was up to him.

Damian:

Stigma about wrestling. Is that why he was doing it in secret heart?

Ole:

He never told him. I don't know if he was allowed to, but anyway, it's he always instilled into me that mindset of it's up to me. It's me. It depends on me. I can't have any excuses. I can't blame the coach. It's just yourself. And because there was one time and that's the only time I remember my dad looking a bit angry. I came home, I had a party, stayed up a little bit late and I just got home early in the morning to wait, get up to training and go straight to training. And he just had a little with his cup of coffee, a little glance. When I came in and said, do you think this is a way to become a top athlete? And that was that's the one comment I remember.

Damian:

Oh, sorry. How old were you then? When that

Ole:

18? I must've been because a drunk alcohol, maybe 19, actually. Wow.

Jake:

So what are you like now as a manager with your players that look for fault rather than take responsibility? How do you deal with that?

Ole:

Well, I don't there's for me, there's a, if the players play modest, that's, uh, they can, I'll give him a chance. So of course, you you'd like to give people a chance to, to learn and try to realize that they're in the wrong, but I don't want any players blaming others. And no, I don't want any blame culture here because I think they all deep down know it's it depends on them.

Jake:

Yeah. How do you, how do you remove any blame culture? What's your process to that?

Ole:

Well, quietly, because they, they just gradually end up not playing and being out to the club. I'm not there to ramp the row or a raver and say, if you don't effing changed that I'm like quietly tick off behind me here. Okay. Let's have a look. Let's have a look next game. If he makes the same mistake again, or if it blames other people again, and in the end, you just gradually ween them off. Is that the word an expert?

Jake:

Sit Damian: with the conversation we had, um, with Sean earlier on where he said, he makes sure he tells the players every single thing, um, he's, uh, the England rugby league manager. And he said, I tell the players exactly what I want. Cause then if they don't give it to me, then I can get rid of them legitimately.

Damian:

Well, I think that there's a, I think is making this distinction here between the technical and attitudinal responses. So I think what Sean was saying was if the players make a technical mistake, he takes accountability. I've not coached them well, enough, if it's a case of they've not run back or they've not worked hard enough, that's on them. The responsibility comes down. 

Ole:

That's an attitude they have because you can always make a decision to do not drawn back. It's easy not to, to run back. Yeah. But that's your decision and that's that we don't want those types of players. And if, if a player misses a chance or misses a penalty, of course they don't do that on purpose. I can't shout them rant if they do that. But I can prove my point. If they keep on making decisions that go against our framework or principles or the way we want to play style of play. And if they blatantly say, well, I'm not running for you, you tend others, you work. And I I'm just waiting. So that's,

Damian:

So if we can pick up on that, I remember you telling me a story years ago, when you, when you were the reserve team coach and you were, and you spoke about Danny Whaleback and one of the things that impressed you was that he would stay behind and help the coaches collect the balls and after shooting practice and you'd spin them up, that indicated that he was a team player, he was thoughtful of other people. What would you say are the other behavioural factors you look for in people that you want to bring into your culture?

Ole:

Well, of course we are a club. We are a team. We are, we have staff here that work every day together, and it's about respect. I think respect is a big word for me. I think loyalty is a big word. And , so I expect them to not think about themselves too much like me before the team is always the team before, , before  , the manager or sir Alex always used to say, there's no I in team. Which, which is right. And, but then you have got individual qualities in there that you don't want to take away, but that han quality of being a team player, that's got, you have to have that. Yeah. You have to have it. Yep.

Damian:

And what else are you looking for?

Ole:

Well, beyond the obvious talent and the qualities as a footballer, you, you have ahow do you say you? Just people who wants to learn, they are humble enough to say, yeah, I think we've touched on it. That if, if you're hble enough to say, yeah, you're right. I can, I can learn that lesson to the coaches want to implement our principles in the way we want to play our style. Because if we agree on one way of play and you can't just make your own decision on, no, I want to play my own way. That's completely going against the team. , there's so many others, but respect for, for other people, respect for teammates. I think you need, there's so many good talents out there, but if you have the good right who han qualities and also be driven, you have to be driven.

Ole:

You have to be a winner. If we, we haven't talked about winning and you'd want winners in a team like money.  of course you can, you can say now, well, I feel anyway, I've been here now, 18 months, ish. And we have started, we have a foundation to build from, and now it's about, we have, the attitude is right. The work ethic is right. They're hble, hard work. And they want to learn. Now it's about getting to the next stage of learn, how to win. We need to win as well, but in a fair way, but we need to learn how to win. And when I say fairway, well, I've had one sending off and I was calm. I was so told off by the gaffer. He absolutely slaughtered me in the dressing room in two weeks against new castle. Yeah. And he's, I learned a lesson then that that's not the way we want to win at money in it. We don't do it that way. And he's like, you don't want to win at all costs. You want to win. Yeah. But you'd rather want to win despite of then because of the, if, if you know what I mean.

Jake:

Yup. So when you've got a squad of players here who you've chosen, because they're good enough as footballers, how do you go about turning a bunch of good footballers into a bunch of good footballers who win?

Ole:

I think they all to get, as far as they have, they've got to have a bit of a, an edge and an ego in them because you don't get to the top by just being a nice guy. It's nice being nice, but you've got to have some rough edges here and there. So the thing is that you want to see who you test them. You see, who's got that little bit of extra how'd you test them. Well you've well, we, we referee quite badly a few times and see how they react. Yeah, of course you do that on purpose because you want to see, you don't want defenders who are emotional. You don't want. Cause if they're too emotional, they'll cost you in a cup final or they'll give a penalty away or get sent off. And you want players who on Neil, Neil, or one nail down, want to take the ball instead of an then do the own, the bit that everyone else does when it's fine. Cause then everyone's confident in your confidence. Give us the ball. Everyone's confident then. But when you're one nail down and you're really struggling, that's when you want the leaders to step up and the winners to step up and you can't have just leaders. And , but you have three, four of them who really take the, the level up. And we want them to say

Jake:

Your leaders currently at Manchester, United Damien talks about cultural architects, the people that stamp the Ole: going to associate Mark on the rest of the school. Of course, I think you have

Ole:

An example lately on Marcus Rashford, what kind of han being is, but also a leader here is by stepping forward, he stepped forward on the pitch and off the pitch. He steps forward, takes his first penalty for man United ever extra time. Champions, league PSG is never had a penalty before and he takes it and he scores. And w we through that's Mark is a leader. Of course, you've got Bruno who has come in and with, with the impact he's made, he's he, you can see he's a leader because players follow him. They've seen, wow. He's, there's such that, that, that, that was the little spark that we needed. I feel Julie earlier on this season from being a team that should have won games to now winning get more games. And of course the captain Harry Maguire has been a six months and he's captain of the club, what it Bruno do.

Ole:

So as someone that's come in, it's not easy. Is it to come in halfway through a season or to come in and even in the smer transfer and had to come into a squad that's already formed. What did he do? Where the players immediately thought, right? This guy is, he's got the talent. Of course that's, you can see the qualities there. And we've seen that for a long time, but then again, he steps up when it matters. And he does it when it matters is delivered. Crosses is delivered. Assists is scored. Goals is took penalties. He's done everything in a short space of time that you'd expect the field and off the field as well in training. And he demands of me. He demands of his teammates. And the first day he was in the club, he shook everyone's hand it. Doesn't didn't come in a thinking, I'm the, I'm the big shot. , you follow me? No, the respect and the respectfulness of his, he should absolutely. Every staff members hadn't noticed them. And of course, that's, this is a family money. And I did. We've always been a family. And sir, Alex, the way he's created this atmosphere in this dress, in this training ground, I think is unique.

Damian:

So when, so two of the names you mentioned there, Valley McGuire and Bruno are people that you've recruited in. So what kind of homework do you get to do to make sure that they're the right character, as well as having the talent that are good, that is going to add to the family.

Ole:

We got the chief Skiles that do all this scouting. And we got the analysis to do all the analysis and break it down to the minute, this detail. But you can see that with your eye, really what talent and what quality you got, then you speak to teammates that maybe play with them in a national teams. Obviously, Christiana was an easy goal to me that I managed to get through, , through Patrice to get hold of Cristiano. And, , his recommendation, , obviously stands, stands him in good stead. And that's a normal situation that when I in Norway, it was easy for me. I knew more or the most of them when I signed an annuity, maybe the agent and I managed to, to maybe meet the parents or the boys on the, on the slide. You're not allowed to, but sometimes you just meet and you speak.

Ole:

And I think for English national internationals, for example, you speak to Marcus, what do you think of such and such a teammate of yours? What do you do you think he'll fit a higher McGuire? For example, you follow him, use watch his Instagram account. You watch Twitter, you watch what kind of personalities they are, make feeling how the mud hole:, those. No. And you go back to the Scouts that scouted him when he was 15, 16, of course they had spoken to them and we just know more or less everything we need to know about the personality. Then that's, you can't do that all the time. So sometimes you have to have the, , get, take the hunch. You watch him and you say, well, rainy day at stoke, , he steps up he's a winner, , or just a little why he picked up the ball and gave it to the player. Or he is respectful when he have the pitch. He shakes everyone's hand or those little things. You look at the han qualities as well.

Damian:

I'm interested to know also what, what you say to those players about this is before they've signed before they've seen the culture, seen their teammates, what's your message to them for the club that they're coming into. And I suppose it's quite an important moment for you because it's the very first chance you have, isn't it to make a Mark with these players?

Ole:

Oh, well, first of all, it's like, I've got the money for the club all the time. You've got to think the best for the club, but you've got to try to help this player. You got to try to say, well, you've, you've got a chance here to, , to make a career at the biggest club in, in the world. You can make history and I want to be here to help you, but like, I can't do everything for you. You've got to step up and do it yourself. But I've, I've changed, , quite a lot since I started managing, , it's not. Yeah. How long is it? Ago? 10 years ago now in Molde, I was more of a direct juice, like straight and done. This is the way it is, but gradually, you know, the millennials, we speak about it, the young kids now they need a different way of managing and help. And sometimes being spoon-fed. , it's a different, I I've got players now just the age of my son. And it's like, well, you could be, you could be my son, you, and it's like, you treat them a little bit differently when you challenge them, you have to, they've got to do it themselves, even though how much I want to help them.

Damian:

So what would you say is the biggest single difference between when you first went into Molde and the manager you are today,

Ole:

Or one single difference? There's many differences. Of course, I was a very driven, , ambitious manager been at man. I did, I'm going to come to Molde, I'm going to win. I'm going to get back to the premier league. I've got ambitions. , my dream is to manage money and I did, , and I'm just focused on that. And we do well in Molde. We, when I brought a few man United stuff with me, we bring in my mini money United over there. And he's like, this is easy. This is like drug Julie. And then I get an offer and I jped on it, , with Cardiff. And that's a different learning curve for me. And ever since I finished at Cod, if I've obviously looked back and evaluated myself and, but worlds change quite a bit. So I went back to Molde again and  it was a different score that went into, but I changed my way. So I was more, I got to know the players more. And as you speak, you, you create more relationships with the players. I think players nowadays need that more than maybe what I did on the generation before me did, I think it was more look after nber one and make sure the manager was more straight and lift it to you.

Jake:

So after that Cardiff experience, how did you process that? Because that's, that's one of your first failures in your career?

Ole:

It was, , quite easy in that respect. Cause then, well,  I I'm, I was that like a player as well. I did my best and that's all I can do. This is me. But then I realized after a while at this isn't me at Cardiff, because that wasn't me. , it was a challenge. I was too stubborn, maybe two, when I took the job, say, ah, I'll manage this. And, , I needed maybe different skill sets. , and maybe I was said I was open and honest, and my door was always open with, , with, , with the players. But maybe I was still a little bit too distant and I couldn't, I didn't get the relationship that I wanted with the players. And in my last five years, I've been a different manager to be fair and more relaxed, so much more relaxed and say, well, I've the worst thing that can happen is that you're allowed to move back to lovely Christensen with your family. Yeah.

Jake:

Do you think that there'll be people listening to this now who are in management positions and they've maybe made the same mistake as you were instead of just being themselves, they feel they have to play the rOle: of the manager and that's what that's yeah.

Ole:

The mistake you made. I think so. I definitely, I loved going into work everyday at Cardiff, good people. And I have absolutely loved it, but it just wasn't me that situation, it didn't suit me. And I think maybe they you've, as you say, you get found out, maybe I wasn't me or I I'm sure I wasn't me. Cause one, the style of play that we wanted to play didn't suit the players or so the style of play that I wanted didn't I can go through with it. And I've been, I've been here for 15 years as a player, no 11 as a player and four as a coach before I've come back now. And of course these years I've molded me in the way, how I believe a team should be playing and the style club should. So that for me, it's it was miles easy walking in here to bring my KOle: philosophy. I don't principles. I don't like all these words. I just want the players to go out there and express themselves within the framework in a positive manner, because you want the dominate wanted dominate when your money. And I didn't want to be the team that's got the ball.

Damian:

I was going to ask you earlier, like how important was that apprenticeship? You did it, but that when you finished as a player and then you became the, the under, so you worked with Bob and Joyce, you also had serve Alex mentoring. Yeah. How important was that in your development? It was fantastic.

Ole:

And Warren was a fantastic, , , partner for me because he had had a completely different upbringing in English, , league system. So he'd played more games in the lower league. I was, I was used to winning every year. I was used to having [inaudible] at the back, , playing two V two all the time. And so tactically, I realized that, well, you've, you need to set your team up differently to what, what it was like with sir. Alex was, yeah, you want to take risks and you want to play with, but that's easy when or not easy. When you got the up storm, you can run the, and you can play to be two because they've got pace and strengthened. Now you didn't need to organize your team. So I learnt to organize a team, , much more, , with, , with Warren and all of these sort of moments of learning and successes and failures and relationships you built along the way led you to getting the Manchester United job for people that are listening to this who have big things come along in their lives.

Ole:

And they don't sit comfortably with them because it just overalls them a bit. How did you cope mentally when you got the phone call to say, first of all, you're coming in on a temporary basis and then that's it. You are the Manchester United boss. How do you deal with the sudden expectation and the kind of explosion that it creates in your, in your own life? No problem. No, absolutely no problem. Add. I'd had the best manager in the world, how to deal with all the circstances, how to deal with the expectations of this club. And when you were a player here, I was, I didn't get it as much as say Eric Cantona David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, all the superstars that we had, but the media attention, you just have to learn how not to pay too much attention to it and just do your best. Cause that's Dave asked you to do the job because of your qualities. And I that's, I trusted myself to, to bring, , my good qualities into the team that was here. Obviously I was only for six months to be fair. And it's easier then to come in and say, okay, I'm going to enjoy this. I'm going to do my I'm just going to

Jake:

Feel quite pressure-free because it was a short term and I'm going

Ole:

To be me. I'm going to make the players enjoy playing football, create an environment that they want to come into every single day. That is Keane for me. Now you have to have an environment which is enjoyable, but challenging. They've got to want to come in the next day and say, I liked like to come into work. And, , I just enjoyed it. The boys with quality, we talk about leaders. We talked about leaders before poor Pogba is an unbelievable leader, both on the pitch and off the pitch. And he steps up where he's with his world-class qualities as a player, but also as a leader, he, he, in the first few months, , of mine, I spent a lot of time with Paul because I had him in the reserves as well. And we knew each other and it was easy to, to just rekindle that relationship really. And he enjoyed it.

Jake:

Yeah. How do you help your players to deal with that outside scrutiny and pressure? Because  I look at someone like Paul Pogba, and as you say, world-class football and he's won a world cup yet, still persistent questions across the media, right. That must surely have an impact on people's mental wellbeing and therefore that their performance on a football field, I'm just interested in how you deal with that side. Do you talk to your players about that sort of stuff? Have a very sort of open dialogue with them? Yeah,

Ole:

Definitely. I think one is the individual chats you have with them. Of course you have, everyone's different and everyone's got different challenges in life. We will go. There's more there's  we could probably sit there for hours and hours talking about what happens off the pitch that you're not allowed to know, which I obviously don't want to share with people, but there's so much more to, to a footballer than just what happens on the pitch and they're han beings. I need you, but I try to make him understand that, yes, we play for our funds money and I need funds, but don't pay attention to social media and media. When this, the more loud ones normally are just, they just want to criticize you for yeah. For anything. So we, we, we speak to them about how to handle that and manage that both as a group and as individuals, because what matters when you walk on step onto that pitch, it's your teammates, it's your funds. It's what the management culture is, what we want. If you, if you'd done your absolute best, don't worry about anything else. You know, that you've, you've done what we've asked,

Jake:

Because I often use the phrase that criticism is the enemy of creativity. And in that moment you've got to football or about to do something amazing. And all it takes is that slight seed of doubt in his head to think, well, I've got so much criticism this week. I'm not sure I'm willing to put myself out there. Well, that's way of looking

Ole:

At it. Yeah. Then you've got the Michael Jordan way or my way, because whenever the, whenever the manager put me out of the team that just gave me more energy to show him when he put me on, I want to show you that I should be playing more. So you feed off. Yeah. You feed off that feed off negative. I'd rather have you lots criticize me all day long than praise me. I think it's easier if you get praised all the time to just rest a little bit or maybe laurels

Damian:

[inaudible] Oh

Ole:

Yeah. Sometimes I think, yeah, you might believe it. You might just deep down, you think, mm. I could have done better. Should have done better, but everyone thinks I'm great. So, yeah. I'm probably great.

Damian:

Just let me ask you a question. I know like who does, so one of the themes that we've spoken about on this podcast has been, , we've seen a lot of, high-performance talk about having this rOle: of a memento, Mor somebody that reminds them of that fallibility or their mistakes. Who is it? That when they give you feedback, you sit up and pay attention and barely listen to them. Who does that for you?

Ole:

I have to say, , I've had some fantastic support from sir Alex on the, in, in the hard times that we've gone through here, when you lose a game at man United it's, it is a crisis. And through the difficult periods, he's been a very, very good support to me. , we keep texting each other. He rings me. There's this, all the people add as been the club has, they've been very supportive as well. And that's, we went into this with a, with a bit of plan as well, which everyone, well, I put my, how to say my ideas across and say, this is not an easy fix because I felt quite a bit hard to be done. And you share with us what you felt needed to journal. I'm not reading, but then of course, it's, it's just those little, those things that you've, if you, if you want to give me the job, this is how I'd like to do it, but you have to understand, it might take some time.

Ole:

It might mean that we, we're not going to challenge for the premier league, or it will mean we're not going to try challenge for the premier league in 2020, but we might be able to win the Europa league Griffin cup, but we'll challenge for top four still. Cause we got quality, but it's, I need time to get this done. , of course there's always demands on that. You need to perform, you need to win. W we've spoken about development and improvement and culture, but winning at money United is important. Sure. So I there's no chance I can dress the rest on the laurels and say, well, 10th is fine because we have a three-year plan. That's that's completely, you can't do that, but you have to always push the limits.

Damian:

But, but everyone that we've spoken to that has sustained success has always spoken about it. Isn't a linear, straight line journey that will be setbacks. There'll be difficulties. And, and this art of patience seems to be a consistent theme that you need to give somebody time to get through that messy middle bit when setbacks happen. So how do you get people to see that bigger picture and be patient to get through the messy middle before success?

Ole:

It's important that you have open and honest conversations then on, this is the way and that that's probably, , what people might, , like about me as well. And, , cause I'm always, well, this is the way I see it. This is the way I'd like to do it because, , I've become so much more relaxed and say, there's we spoke about it before you have to be yourself. And I just said, this is what I believe. This is what I think should be done. If you've got belief in that, this is the way I will try to do it with the stuff I've got, because it's on trust you me. We are a staff that always will have the club Manchester United ahead of anything else ahead of any individual accolade or, , well I've managed money. And I did so I've reached my dream, but I'm of course my dream is to win the premier league and champions league with money.

Ole:

And I did, and I always want to be better. , the only way I can do it is just to do it my way and do to the best of my abilities. And I promise you, as long as I'm in the job, I'll do this to the best of my ability and trust my staff to have Michael Carey, Kiran McKenna, feelin rechart is who was with me with, in the reserves. , I've got the physios, John and Richard. They were in me with me in the reserves. There's so many the kit man. And he was with me when I was in the reserves. It's like money United, it's our identity and DNA. We just gonna do it the way we think is right for money United. When you first came into the club and you had a plan of where you were going to take them, where are you now on that journey, do you think for health, we just got back play.

Ole:

And after a horrendous three month layoff with a, with a situation that everyone's been through with, , with a virus on we just at the moment that the lockdown started, we were really in the moment. We had 11 games, I think on defeated. And you wanted just to keep that run going. And now he knows where we are because who knows what will happen with, with team performances after such layoff. But then again, that the players, the staff that worked really hard over, they locked down. Yeah. And not just smart and clever as well. It's like you have your breather mentally, but look after yourself physically. So the coaching staff, the fitness staff, they've been looking after the players and, but the unknown was difficult. When are we going to come back? Are we going to, when are we going to start really training hard to be fit? Or if we start too early, you might be tired when we start. So it's been a difficult situation, but I think we've found the golden middle highway that I think we've we just about where we are. We should be.

Damian:

So can I ask you about use up phrase about that DNA of a winning culture? What would you say would the other three non-negotiable behaviors of the winning culture that you experienced as a player and that you're now seeking to re embedded as a, as a manager,

Ole:

Trust loyalty, a commitment to the team. That's is that one word that can be, what about, you've got to be a, you have to be a team member. You have to, , for me, that's be all be all end all. Really. If you want to go your own way, it doesn't matter how great you are. If you don't want to give your qualities to the team, , then we'll just have to find another club for you or you have to find another way. So for me, that is that loyalty is, , is vital and the trust I can, I know I can trust the stuff and the, , the players more or less as well with, with my life. Cause they, they want the same as us. And that's a good feeling. , keep the standards high. You, you just got to keep challenging yourself all the time. That's, , it's gotta be allowed to have some stock words and strong words when, cause that accountability you've you've if a player lets the teammates down, I want the team, the players as well to make that player accountable. , because it's, it's only not himself. He's letting down and he's letting the whole: team down. , and what else do you do you say? Well, just respect. Well, that's loyalty and trust as well. Isn't it? So you used

Damian:

Up loads on your first. Oh yeah,

Ole:

I think I did. Yeah. , but it it's all about team really for me, , family, you very much go back to this team thing. Don't you do? How much do you see yourself as being on a level with your players and how important is it as their leader, as their manager that you maintain some distance? No. Well, I'm obviously I'm the one who makes the decisions and , we'll, we'll when we, , if we lose and get the criticism, which  I don't mind cause that's, that's at the top. You'd you? You are the one that made the most difficult decisions on the players and the coaching staff. They know that, , I would rate their opinions. I really, really think it's, , vital that everyone in my staff feel comfortable of raising their opinions to me, without me saying, ah, I respect their opinion, but then you respect my decision as well.

Ole:

And that's, I like that way of, of , of managing and making decisions. I always tell it, I know what that they are better than me at many, many things and made, they might think about different things that I do. And we discuss this all the time about which players and what, who will suit, what position, , players as well. I think they'd know that I want the best for them, but that the team is the most important. I there's nothing better for me when I wasn't Molded. For example, it's a different, different job. I know. But one of my jobs there I felt was to give those players a chance to have a career like I have had as a player. So I want you to go from Molde to a bigger club in Europe, and I'm going to help you. I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to do to prepare you for that, that job.

Ole:

So you've got to just trust me on that because I've been through it. Hey, Rez is younger lads, but they've such at such a high level. I still want the best for them, but I have to make decision for the club. And I think the, the place respect and understand that. Are they hard to reach modern young footballers? Oh, I don't think so.   , I've got to be open. I've got to be, , want to invest. I want to invest my time into their, , cause into their time and into their development. And that's my job really as well. Us, I'm still the manager of the club, but  I want, I need to invest time into individual players, into staff here. So into different departments that they feel they can be their best. I want to spend time with them and say, I'd like you to make those decisions or I make, I want you to do this. I want you to feel free to make decisions. And because I trust you, you are here because you're a top player you're here because you're a top, , , administrator or top chef or top physio. They need to know that they're better than me to treating players, , injuries. I might be okay. Speaking to them about different things. So if there was one, one piece of advice, you could

Damian:

Give a young player that was here at the club, who was maybe on the cusp of making the transition to join your, your first team. What would the one thing you would want them to know or do or understand

Ole:

Work harder than you've ever done to reach your goals. You've come so far now and I'm sure you've dreamt of playing at the highest level. You're so close and don't feel that you've made it, make sure that you always want to learn and develop. I still, I had read a Merlin stand as a coach in the first team when I was 30 and I still learn things off him that I've taken into my coaching career. But also to the little last few years of my career, I felt I learned of him. And you never, ever, ever the finished article as a player, you've got players now, Paul Pogba, Bruno Marcus Rashford, D'Antoni there. They all want to learn. And I want, I try to bring my experiences. Well, in this situation I used to do this. Maybe it will. Do you think of that?

Ole:

So always be open minded enough to learn that the Cristiano, for example, Ronaldo, best player in the world, but he always wanted to learn and improve. He's still got that in him. Like, well, KCC suddenly find a new way of playing football when he was a sentiment fielder at the age of 40. So you've always got a chance to better yourself. There's no substitute for hard work in this club, right? No, it's the gaffer used to say all the time. He, we were like, , all the managers used to tell him that we were like a fourth division team, just with quality players. Cause we run and we run and we run and we worked hard on the two flight wide men are full box. You know, the graveyard shift that we used to talk about, it's just relentless, but that's the way, that's the only way at man United man United team should never be outworked. And that's I said that early on in one of my press conferences that we should never be outworked and make Leland said to me, you know, you'll always be remembered for that. You know, you've you've, you've said that. So you now you can't let any team be fitted in us so that we working towards being the fittest team in the league, but how to be a great, how much of that

Damian:

Were you even consciously aware that that goes right? The way back to so much Busby talking about that, that, that, that, that, that was almost like a prerequisite for the people that worked in the factories and the, and the local businesses they came and they wanted to see the Manchester United team work workout, and then put talent on top of it

Ole:

Course. I know the history of the club and I know sir mats, and I know sir, Alex, and I know how much and the, the quote Surmont said, well, we have got people here in Manchester, work in their socks off to be able to go and enjoy Saturday on at old Trafford, seeing their heroes, but also being entertained. As you need to, as a man United play, you also need that X, X factor. You need that skill, but you're always deep down. You've got to have that hility about you and be working hard because if not our fans won't have you. We don't want any fancy Dan who stood there, just flicking and doing those things that not, that's not the money. And I did a player and that's one of the things when we, it, it reminds me now that was one of the things I say to my players as well, when we signed them, , you've got to work hard here because our fans, they love hard work in player. They love a tackle from a, so Jesse and Marcus, local lads, who just go and chase, they chase down the opposition. First five minutes, you get a tackle in the, in their box. For example, our fans love them and they deserve to see it.

Jake:

So when you came in as a young man from Norway, did, did you deliberately go and study the history of the club or

Ole:

No, to be honest, I didn't deliberately do that. It just, it gets in, you are new. Just, I watched the under eighteens. I watched the reserves. You just have people that's worked for the club that live for the club. You have Paul McGuinness, you have Jimmy Ryan, you have Wilf. McKinney is Paul's dad. So sir, Alex, we, the conversations just goals. And you just it's in on the walls. It's within us. And it just is that feeling, you get, we are money United and that's you just gradually just, it takes over your, , your life.

Jake:

I'm really interested, but we're going to go onto our quick fire questions in a second. But one of the things that really intrigues me about managing a club like Manchester United is you've spoken a lot about the team and the team has a one work ethic and what you need to be a Manchester United player. Your job. One of the tricky parts of your job, I guess, is balancing with that. The fact that you need flare and you need players that bring that individual a little bit of brilliant. So what is the trick to allowing those players to flourish and grow and, and be a superstar here, but at the same time, work for the team and everyone moves in the same direction.

Ole:

Well, when you, when you are part of a successful team, you do that work no matter what, but your quality will make you win. You win games. So how do you do it? You just always say, you always encouraged them to express themselves, be themselves, be like we talked about as a manager, be myself, play as well. What's unique about you. Yeah. Do stay, stick with the principles. And, but what's, what's unique about you because there must be something because you've just, you've signed for money. United money United have signed you, you must have an X-Factor. You must have uniqueness. Is it your pace? Is it your free kick? Is it your dribble? Is it your work rate? Is it a mission finishing? Yeah, that was my quality. That was the one X factor that I felt that I made a difference with that. How can you make a difference?

Ole:

You've got to remember that you've signed because you have specific qualities. You have qualities that no one else has in the world also buy into the team. Yeah. You got to buy into the team. That's that's we, we want to create ceramics was great man management. We felt we were important. Every one of us, he made us know that we were important. Even me as a sub comment on Phil Neville, Nikki book in my group of, we knew that when the big games came rookie and Paul SchOle:s would play on the cold white York or it, well, you still have that hope and how that, how that little, maybe he'll pick me this time. But if it didn't, I knew I might be important because he's made me feel so important all the time. Yeah. I think that's what you want to do with the staff members as well.

Ole:

What you do is important. And I think everyone would sacrifice yourself and you work hard for the team. If you know, at the end you got that trophy, you lift that chp champions, league trophy or premier league. So hopefully we can, that's what we're working towards. I remember Martin Kia telling me that when he was asked Austin, Vanga used to pull him aside on much day and say, listen against this opposition. You're the single most important player for us. Okay. You've got to have a good time. Martin would spend the rest of the pre-match and the game thinking Austin's told me that I'm the main man. He said, it's only offered me retired. And they all used to get together, have a drink. It'd be like, hold on. They told me as well. Yeah, but that's a trick of a good manager as well on the, you know, that sir, Alex and most of them will have that little treat up. , so, so important for, , for them and no it's , when you, when it is all worth it,

Damian:

You detailed the anecdote before though. I'll they have, , , in the treble season, again, last game against Tottenham in the league, and you were hoping to get off the bench in that game and serve. Alex had made a comment that came back a week later in, , in Barcelona,

Ole:

Halftime halftime, one, one against Tottenham. We need to win, , Teddy and Yorkie started a game at half. So one-on-one, he takes Teddy off, puts Andy on. So it's like, well, am I am like, is he going to put me on? But he's T I still remember him. I still remember where I sat and watched him. And he says, well, keep on like yarn and Cola. We'll probably we'll, we'll score. We'll get, but if you don't get your goal, I'll just put only on the last 15 minutes, he'll get us a goal. And it's like, I sit in my chair and it's like, I didn't come on. Cause I'm the scored after three minutes with his first couple of touches, I think he'd just received it. I think he had two or three touches and scored so fantastic. We won the league. I'm the happiest man on the, on the planet, because he's just said that about me. I didn't even come on. But 10 days later we win the champions league by exactly the same, , recipe he puts me on and I got, got the goal.

Damian:

Okay. So can  as a United front, can I just endorse myself? So I've always been intrigued about that, that goal in Barcelona and the story that, and you can crack this, otherwise that you stood it. , the, , the guy that was up against you, the [inaudible], and you'd noticed that when he went for a header, he will close his eyes.

Ole:

No, no, that's wrong. That's a, no, it just, the, the thing is what he was marking me and he grabbed hold of me. And, but he did lose the sight of me when look, it was, Teddy had flicked that ball on. So he just lost me for a half, half a second, a split second. And then that was enough. He was a fantastic defender Q4. But, ,

Damian:

Did you notice that he w that he would lose sight of you'd like from watching on the substitute Spanish?

Ole:

Oh, no. That's just a myth. You know, I used to, I used to sit there and study defenders. Yes. But I can't take the credit for that one. I just used instinct to try to get away from him and read where Teddy was going to flick the ball. Look, we, we always finish with some quick facts. Okay. So here we go. First of all, your three non-negotiable behaviors that everyone around you here at Manchester United needs to buy into. We did these earlier. I think so hopefully trust. Yep. Do your best and always do your best cause and trusts. Do your best and loyalty, respect, no respect others. It's very good.

Damian:

What advice would you give a teenager late? Just starting out

Ole:

Do the same again. I wouldn't sit there. Would I? So any little decision, , just make the same decisions. How did you react to your greatest failure? Spurred me on to do something about it on learn from it. Do you ever, do you have a comfortable relationship with failure because I'm a firm believer that you need to fail in life to move forward, to learn, fail forwards, fail early. No problem with failing. Absolutely. No, no problem at all. Because as long as you, no, that you meant well on your decisions were good ones, but it turned out wrong.

Jake:

You sort of get there though, because there'll be people listening to this that struggle with it. Maybe even your own children, you spent time speaking to them about the fact that, you know, it's okay to fail. I think quite often as parents, we spend all that time trying to make sure our kids never fail in no less than for life.

Ole:

I don't mind them failing as long as they've done their best. That's the main message from me to the players here, as well. As long as you go out for going to, if you'd know that you've done your best, if, cause you got to balance life, of course, SKU, , sports, social life, and you've got to make a decision on, okay. I spent X amount of hours on homework, X amount on my sport and X amount or my social life, but know that there are consequences to your decisions. So if you've decided to spend eight hours on football and half an hour on, on schoolwork, you don't expect the schoolwork to be a top to you or your social life. So you know that all your decisions will have consequences.

Jake:

How important is legacy to you?

Ole:

Ooh. , I know that I'm just going to do my best anyway, and I hope obviously there's a good legacy to be, to be left. But as long as I know of, I've been true to my values, true to my, the club's values, , and made decisions I believe. Well, so be it. , so I'm not too bothered about what people think, but I'm bothered what I know, what I've been asked to do if I can do that. So as long as my, , employers and my family and my players know that I've made the decisions for the right reasons, that's fine.

Jake:

And the final one of our quickfire questions is are you happy?

Ole:

Yeah. Nice. Quick answer. Yeah. Well, if you can't be happy with what I've got now, and then I'll never be happy.

Jake:

It's not as bad as it will. Look, thank you so much for inviting us to a, what is a remarkable training ground? Fantastic view. Isn't it? It's an brella you're King of all you can see, right?

Ole:

Yeah, no, it's fantastic here. So it's a great place to come in every day. So, , I'm just gonna make sure that we, , start winning.

Jake:

Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to sit here and talk about your time at Manchester United and really interestingly that the little tricks and the tips and the, the approach you've taken to running. One of the greatest clubs in the world, secondarily to North,

Ole:

It's been a pleasure to talk to you. Thanks man. Cheers.