Manchester United considered Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as front-runner for the permanent job after the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in January, according to reports.
The Norwegian raised the spirits of supporters by securing comfortable wins over Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town, AFC Bournemouth and Reading in his opening four games as caretaker manager, but the club’s tactically shrewd win at Wembley forced the wider football world to take notice.
An impressive tally of 14 wins from 19 games, including victories at Stamford Bridge and the Parc des Princes, served as the only evidence required for Man United to make Solskjaer the club’s permanent manager.
According to ESPN‘s Mark Ogden, the victory over Mauricio Pochettino prompted United to scale down their search for a more high-profile appointment. The immediate uplift both on and off the pitch had surprised and impressed club officials. That five-day trip to Dubai in January, during which Solskjaer begun laying down tactical principles and a specific blueprint for beating Spurs, seriously impressed those at the club.
Solskjaer’s attention to detail with all facets of the club since arriving in December has slowly eroded his image as ‘caretaker’. The Norwegian, through continuously winning games and espousing a mentality which chimed with the club’s values, very quickly became the obvious and only candidate for the biggest job in football.