Park Ji-sung has praised the football vision of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and believes the club must get behind their manager if they are to return to the Premier League’s top four next season.
The Norwegian was appointed on a permanent contract in March following a spell in caretaker charge, and presided over an immediate upswing in results following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer also oversaw a run to the quarter-final of the FA Cup and an historic Champions League win against French champions Paris Saint Germain, when a stoppage-time Marcus Rashford penalty completed a storming comeback from 3-1 down.
The team failed to carry that form into the season’s final weeks and slipped down the table to finish sixth, but former midfielder Park remains convinced that the manager is the right man to lead his old club forward.
“I believe he was the best man for Man Utd at that time,” Park said. “He was interim manager which was a very good option for both the club and Ole because they both have an opportunity.
“Ole was different in the way he watches football. When he was watching the game from the bench, he was always thinking about ‘how can I change the game when I get into the pitch’.
“It’s not an easy way of thinking, and I believe it was a perfect attitude for every player.”
United’s form following Solskjaer’s permanent appointment was in stark contrast to the ease with which they brushed past opponents in the early weeks of his tenure.
Their sticky league form saw them relinquish pole position in the race for the top four in the Premier League, and the team were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in the last eight.
“I believe there was a psychological issue,” said Park. “At the beginning of his time as a manager at Man Utd, there was a strong motivation for finishing top four and also Champions League.
“But, after they knocked out of the Champions League, and lost a game in the league, they suffered from the pressure. I believe that kind of psychological pressure was hard for the players.
“About next season, it’s important for Man Utd to support their manager. Supporting the manager to get the players he wants. The quicker, the better, so that new players can spend the pre-season together with the current team.”