“Definitely. If you want me pitchside with you, I’m there! No, I’m very happy and proud with what I’ve done with the good friends I’ve made, and I wish all the best to everyone. You know the staff here, we’ve been through criticisms and blah, blah, blah, but the way they conduct themselves and the way they work, the knowledge and the attitude, I admire them. Normally, I drive in at seven, half seven at times and I think, ‘I’ve caught them today, I’m in before them’ but no chance. There’s not been a day.”
Obviously when you came in, it was a difficult position in the league, but you built from sixth in that first season, third, second. When you look back at that, is that something you see as decent achievements?
“Well, I’m proud of what we did. The first run first of all, that was enjoyable. But then to finish third, I loved that last game, Jesse [Lingard] scored. The way we put the run together and got the third position, fantastic. Great effort by everyone, the team, the squad. Second place last season ahead of arguably one of the best teams in Europe, I think that’s a great achievement as well. And we were so close in Europe. Sometimes that’s the fine margin for you, one penalty. We were close and that’s something I’ll always remember as well. Semi-finals. I know the foundation is there, I know they’re ready to kick on and I’m sure they will.”
Is that one thing that will keep eating away at you, [being] so close to lifting that one trophy everyone kept talking about at every press conference, the importance of a trophy? It was so, so close…
“Yeah, you might say so and go back and say if you won the Europa League, that would have been a success. But you know, it’s not always the trophies all the time that is the be all and end all. I know that day, we need to celebrate that trophy. But that’s fine margins, we know the work we’ve put in is so important, to get to that final and to get so close, we’ve had to make so many good decisions along the way. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score 11 penalties on the bounce, you can laugh about it, but I look back at every single second here with pride.”
It must have been a tough time of late, Ole, but what next for you?
“I’ll spend some time with my family. That’s been probably the most difficult part, through the pandemic, with Norway being open and here being closed, my family moved back to Norway and the young one, he loves it back there, so we’ve lived apart. So, I’ll spend some time with them. Then, I’ll watch the team of course and hopefully, the next manager comes in and I want to support him. I want him to be successful, hopefully I’ve laid the foundations for that to happen because I know I’m good at what I’m doing. I’m a hundred per cent sure to create a football environment, that’s where I’m good at and at some point, I’ll probably be back [working in football].”