Sir Alex Ferguson has long since retired as Manchester United manager, but the former Old Trafford chief may yet have a hand in his former team’s title success.
United face Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to win his first major trophy as United boss.
The Norwegian’s former mentor, Ferguson, has travelled with the club to Gdansk in Poland, where the squad will be allowed to ‘pick the brains’ of the United icon prior to kick-off.
The Manchester Evening News reported Ferguson won’t address Solskjaer’s squad directly, but the Scot will be available to the players in the build-up to their midweek matchup.
United are hoping to lift the Europa League title for the second time in five seasons, having beaten Ajax 2-0 to win the European trophy for the first time under Jose Mourinho in 2017.
They face a Villarreal team that’s unbeaten in the competition so far this season. Unai Emery’s side have already knocked out another Premier League challenger, Arsenal, in the semi-finals, but the Red Devils are big favourites to end Solskjaer’s wait for a major title as United chief.
The incumbent and several United players recently attended the premiere of ‘Never Give In,’ a documentary directed by Ferguson’s son, Jason, chronicling his life and achievements in football.
Solskjaer—a six-time Premier League champion under Ferguson—praised his teacher’s ongoing influence regarding United’s on-field fortunes: "He flew out with us yesterday. Some of us and some of the players went to see Jason’s documentary, I sat there thinking about this man and what he's done for the club, he's a special man, he’s an encyclopedia of football, even though I got him on a quiz question yesterday!
“Just to have him around when we eat, in the restaurant, if the players’ wonder about something they can ask him and he’s always available for a chat because he has this club in his heart. I hope he enjoys it tomorrow because I owe most of my career to him, so hopefully he will enjoy it."
Ferguson stepped down at Old Trafford in 2013 after winning a record-extending 13th Premier League crown. United have failed to lift the title since, though the club has just sealed successive top-four finishes for the first time since his departure.
It was Solskjaer who scored United’s famous injury-time winner over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, the first of two European titles Ferguson won in 27 years at Old Trafford.
The club has failed to clinch a major trophy since Mourinho last won this tournament four years ago, while United are also in search of their maiden win over Villarreal at the fifth attempt.
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