(Reuters) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has learnt the subtle art of man-management from former boss Alex Ferguson and the Norwegian said he will not hesitate to plug in the ‘hairdryer’ to get the best out of his players.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona, Solskjaer said that working under Ferguson as a player and later as coach ensured he knew when to comfort his players and when to blast them like the fiery Scot.
Ferguson’s hairdryer treatment, where he stood nose-to-nose with a player while angrily critiquing their performance, has become part of English soccer folklore.
“Towards the end of my career I was more focused on what the manager said. You learn that there was a pattern to what he was saying,” Solskjaer told ESPN in an interview.
“He would put his arm around someone or go hard on someone to really get the best out of them. That’s what I learned from him the most — how he managed to get the best out of every single player.
“There’s a pattern to how he builds his team up to believe: ‘We are going to make this’. I’ve used some of his team talks. You’ve got to plan; you can’t just act on emotion.”
Under Solskjaer, who was appointed permanent United boss last month following a successful interim spell, the club have returned to a more familiar attacking style which was the hallmark of Ferguson’s teams.
The 46-year-old suggested the techniques he learnt from Ferguson had been effective.
“If your kids disappoint you, you have to tell them off. If you can see they’re trying their utmost, I don’t think there’s any reason why you should scream,” Solskjaer added.
“Sometimes you talk sensibly and sometimes you have to raise your voice. When he (Ferguson) went on one of his hairdryers or when he was hammering people, there was a reason… he was maybe pointing at one player so that the 10 others would help him out.
“Sometimes you’ve got to go strong. You do it when you’re disappointed.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)