How Sir Alex Ferguson built Ole Gunnar Solskjær's reputation as 'super-sub'

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How Sir Alex Ferguson built Ole Gunnar Solskjær's reputation as 'super-sub'
Photo: Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has spoken about how Sir Alex Ferguson recognised his ability to change the course of a game late on and built a reputation for deploying him strategically.

The Norwegian forward was widely admired for his "super-sub" status during a trophy-laden 11-year career at Manchester United.

Solskjær, despite not always starting matches, had a knack for coming off the bench to score crucial goals.

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Perhaps the most iconic example of Solskjær's super-sub abilities came in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, where he scored the winning goal in injury time to seal the treble for United.

1999 'THE TREBLE' Manchester United Beckham Giggs Sheringham Scholes Keane Solskjaer Schmeichel 12x8 A4 Autographed Signed Photo Photograph Picture
Throughout his United career, Solskjær made over 150 appearances as a substitute, scoring a remarkable 36 goals.

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Speaking to FourFourTwo, the 51-year-old admitted he never settled for being named as a substitute despite his habit of changing a game from the bench.

Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ruud van Nistelrooy, [Paul] Scholes. I was down the pecking order, but I saw so many strikers come and go.

I just stuck up for myself, believed in myself, fought and proved that the manager should play me.

Sir Alex knew that if he put me on the bench then I'd be angry, but also fired up and ready to give everything when I came on.

Not every sub does that. A lot of subs are sulky and hopeless on the bench. I wasn't, and nor was Alan Smith. We went on with the aim of proving the manager wrong.

One of Solskjær's most remarkable sub appearances came at Nottingham Forest in February 1999, when he plundered a remarkable four goals in an 18-minute cameo.

Coach Jim Ryan had a simple instruction, "We're winning 4-1, please don't do anything stupid - keep the ball and see the game out," he said.

That's not the way I'm made. If you're going forward, then you go for goal. If you score four, then why not five, six, seven, eight? Sometimes the ball just falls at your feet and you just must put it in the goal.

A striker should be in the right position and remember, the goal never moves. I've still got the match ball at home.

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