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Football | FA Cup

Gunnar Solskjaer © Action Images

Old habits die hard for super sub Solskjaer



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer began his managerial career at Cardiff City with a 2-1 victory at Newcastle United that inevitably invited comparisons with his playing days at Manchester United.

Solskjaer became known as a 'super sub' after coming on as a substitute to score 28 times for United, most famously claiming the winner in the 1999 Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich.

Just as United did against the German side in 1999, Cardiff won in Solskjaer's first game in charge on Saturday after trailing 1-0 and looking destined for defeat in the FA Cup third-round tie.

And much like United manager Alex Ferguson's decision to introduce Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham against Bayern, it was two substitutions from the Norwegian that changed the game against Newcastle.

The fact that Cardiff's success echoed elements of his playing career was not lost on Solskjaer, who sent on Fraizer Campbell and Craig Noone mid-way through the second half and saw them eclipse Papiss Cisse's goal for Newcastle.

"I know the value of good substitutions," Solskjaer said. "You have 90 minutes and can use 14 players and you want players who came make an impact.

"I was part of a great team and did my best whenever I got the chance, so that's the message to my players – come on, make an impact. You've got half an hour to run around."

Noone and Campbell certainly made the kind of impact demanded by the manager.

"We had two fantastic pieces of skill," he said. "Frazier Campbell scored a great header and Craig Noone's goal was a fantastic piece of skill."

Until Noone equalised, only a minute after making his appearance from the bench, Newcastle had been the superior side and deserved the 62nd-minute lead given to them by Cisse.

"We started well for 20 minutes, then we stopped playing and Newcastle took over until they scored. Then we had to play because we came here to win," Solskjaer said.

"It is never easy to come here to Newcastle, especially when you go 1-0 down, so it pleased me a lot that we showed character to get back into the game. They didn't stop playing.

"When you turn games around, it's the best feeling you can have. They deserved the win because they did it themselves.

"It's not about me, but it is a perfect start to these new times. I think the lads have had a lot to deal with lately and it's nice for them to start with a win in the cup.

"I am also very pleased for the supporters. It is a long journey to come up here to Newcastle, but the return journey may be a little bit shorter because they have something to cheer."

Solskjaer will have discovered a little more about his team, which will help to shape his activity during the January transfer window.

"We have a solid foundation here," he said.

"It's a long season, the longest, hardest, and most intense in any football country, so the depth of the squad is something I'm looking at. We have loads of quality and maybe need some additions to blend in."

Asked to identify his transfer targets, Solskjaer joked: "I'm thinking of asking the owner about local lads – Ryan Giggs, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale. Maybe they are the targets."

Newcastle have now gone out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle three times in the past four seasons and manager Alan Pardew was angry about their latest early exit.

"I thought we had a good grip on the game," he said.

"We were in control, but took our foot off the pedal a little bit and it proved costly. We should have defended better and it cost us the game."

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