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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rewarded for impressive start to life at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rewarded for impressive start to life at Manchester United
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The Norwegian replaced Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been crowned Premier League manager of the month for January, becoming the first person to win the award at Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson.

The 1999 treble winner has enjoyed a superb start since taking caretaker charge of his former club following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December.

Solskjaer has won nine of his first 10 matches in charge in all competitions, with United securing 10 of the 12 Premier League points available last month.

That fine form saw him named January’s Barclays manager of the month ahead of Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl and Burnley manager Sean Dyche.

It is the first time that a United manager has won the award since Ferguson in October 2012 – his final season and one that ended with the Premier League crown.

Solskjaer said: “It means we’ve been the team of the month, both the staff and the players, so we’ve done well.

“We want to be winning games, we want to move up the table and this is the start of it.”

Solskjaer’s impressive work has seen him become the bookmakers’ favourite to permanently succeed Mourinho – although, as it stands, he is set to return to his role as Molde boss in the summer.

The last person to win the Premier League manager of the month award but not be in charge at the start of the next season was right-hand man Mike Phelan.

The 56-year-old won it when caretaker boss of Hull in August 2016 and was named full-time head coach that October, only to be sacked at the start of 2017.

Solskjaer was quick to thank the likes of first-team coach Phelan after United’s upturn was acknowledged in a vote decided for by a panel of football experts and the public.

“The more you know the culture of the club, the culture of the players and the way that we have been successful, that has helped me,” the Norwegian said.

“I’ve got some fantastic coaches, I have to say, Kieran (McKenna), Michael (Carrick), they’re brilliant.

“Emilio Alvarez’s working with the best goalkeeper in the world and to bring Micky in with me is very reassuring because he’s so calm and experienced.

“You cannot be a good leader or a manager without good players, you can’t get results without the players, so ultimately it’s how they respond to what we tell them and they’ve been fantastic, so all credit to them.”

Marcus Rashford won the EA Sports Player of the Month award for January after scoring three goals in four Premier League appearances.

It meant United did the player and manager of the month double for the first time since Dimitar Berbatov and Ferguson won the January 2011 awards.

Rashford said: “Playing consistently gives you the opportunity to be up for these awards.

“It’s the first time I’ve won the award and I think only the second time I’ve been up for it, so it’s a good one to win.”

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