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Solskjaer tabbed as owner's choice to lead Cardiff

Updated: 2014-01-03 07:44
By Reuters in London ( China Daily)

Former United star watches loss to Arsenal from directors' box

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to take over as Cardiff City manager after joining club owner Vincent Tan in the directors' box for a 2-0 Premier League loss at Arsenal on Wednesday.

Cardiff interim manager David Kerslake said he had heard nothing about any appointment and it was "business as usual" ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie at Newcastle United, but British media reported an announcement was expected soon.

 Solskjaer tabbed as owner's choice to lead Cardiff

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and former Manchester United star Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watch from the director's box as Cardiff City took on Arsenal in an English Premier League match in London on Wednesday. Arsenal won 2-0. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he had seen Solskjaer, who is manager of Norwegian side Molde, before the game and Cardiff "played like they knew he was watching".

However, former Tottenham Hotspur defender Kerslake played down any influence Solskjaer might have had on the Welsh team's performance, saying: "There was no talk of it on the team bus, in the hotel or in the dressing room."

Cardiff held league-leading Arsenal at bay until the 88th minute, when substitute Nicklas Bendtner scored before Theo Walcot added a second goal for the host in stoppage time.

The result leaves promoted Cardiff one place and one point above the relegation zone with 18 points from 20 matches after taking one point from its past four league games.

Norwegian media earlier reported Solskjaer had flown from Kvernberget airport in Kristiansund, close to his home, in a Malaysian-registered private jet for the Arsenal game.

Citing sources close to the board of Molde, where Solskjaer has been manager for the past three seasons, Norway's TV2 reported negotiations were at an advanced stage and he was due to take over before the third-round game at Newcastle.

Wenger said it was not a risky appointment for Cardiff or Solskjaer.

"Basically, what you want when you're young is that chance. He already has experience as a manager in Norway, so he has learned his job.

"He was an intelligent player and he is an intelligent boy as well, and that will help him to be successful."

Wenger said he thought Cardiff was the fittest team in the league and that apart from strengthening its striking options the club had the "basic ingredients to survive".

Solskjaer, the hot favorite to succeed Malky Mackay, was chatting and laughing alongside Cardiff's controversial Malaysian chairman Tan during the game.

Mackay was sacked on Dec 27, seven months after winning promotion to the top flight. Solskjaer has won two league titles and the Norwegian cup since taking over at Molde, and was previously linked with vacancies at Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion.

(China Daily 01/03/2014 page23)