OSLO: Aston Villa’s search for a new manager goes on after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to rule himself out of the running. The former Manchester United forward said he intends to “stand by” the remaining two years on his contract at current club Molde, having held talks with Villa on Friday.
Solskjaer, his wife Silje and agent Jim Solbakken were flown from their home town of Kristiansund to Birmingham for a four-hour meeting. However, they returned to Norway on Friday night to learn that Molde’s billionaire backer Kjell Inge Rokke had threatened to end his company’s 20-year support as a result of the meeting with Villa.
The move would be a big financial blow to the Norwegian champions and the 39-year-old Solskjaer faced the media on Saturday morning in a bid to clarify what happened. He said: “I was asked by a friend whether I was interested in speaking with Villa. I called Kjell Inge straight away. We agreed that I could speak to them on Wednesday, that it was OK. I have not had any offers. I’m not looking for another job.
“In football, and in life in general, things turn up that you have to make decisions about. I have a contract for two more years and I’ll stand by that.”
Solskjaer suggested after his meeting with Villa that the talks had been nothing more than an “initial, informal chat”, but the trip appeared to upset Rokke, who is the chairman and a major shareholder in industrial investment firm Aker.
Rokke released a statement on Friday night questioning Solskjaer’s decision to speak to Villa after the coach missed a training session with Molde in order to fly to England. Although Solskjaer insisted he had done nothing wrong in talking to Villa, he conceded the situation could have been handled better, saying: “I would have spoken with them (Villa) regardless, despite seeing the consequences of it. I have to protect myself, my ambitions and my family.
“I’ve said for a long time I have ambitions of being a Premier League manager but I hadn’t expected to receive inquiries so soon. I’ve only been home for 18 months. But I’m not looking for another job. My children are happy here, my wife is happy, I’m happy and I’ve had some success.”
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