It’s official – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the new manager of Manchester United. Well, kind of. The legendary Norwegian ‘super-sub’ has been confirmed as the caretaker boss at Old Trafford until the end of the 2018/19 season, at which point the Red Devils intent to begin a search for the real successor to Jose Mourinho, who was fired earlier this week.
But can Solskjaer succeed at United where Mourinho – and David Moyes and Louis van Gaal – largely failed? And if he does so, could he be in with a shout of becoming the permanent boss? It doesn’t sound likely but stranger things have happened, and we’ve seen on numerous occasions that caretaker bosses can be very successful.
Here are 5 Premier League caretaker managers who saw success during their time in the job.
#1 Guus Hiddink (Chelsea)
Roman Abramovich’s favourite troubleshooter, legendary Dutch boss Guus Hiddink has acted as caretaker boss at Chelsea on two separate occasions and both times he managed to do a pretty good job of cleaning up his predecessor’s mess, bringing into question why he was never offered the hot seat at Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis.
Hiddink’s first stint in charge of the Blues came in the 2008/09 season. Brazilian boss Luis Felipe Scolari was relieved of his duties in February 2009 after a short reign that ended with Chelsea in 4th position in the Premier League.
The Dutchman quickly rejuvenated the squad, and although he only steered the Blues to a 3rd place finish, his side won all but 2 of their final 13 league games and he also led them to victory in the FA Cup – and a controversial exit in the Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona.
His second stint at Stamford Bridge came in the same vein as Solskjaer’s at United – picking up the pieces left behind when Jose Mourinho’s reign came to a dramatic end in December 2015.
This time Hiddink found the Blues floundering in 16th position, and while he didn’t bring any silverware to Chelsea during this reign, he did oversee a 12-game unbeaten run and managed to drag the side back up to a 10th place finish – likely far better than where they’d have finished under Mourinho.