- Thursday 18.45: Molde – Hacken
Molde (Dagbladet): It has been almost five years since Norway were shocked when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at Manchester United who were in crisis.
Here at his home on the mountain, Erling Mu has been entrusted with the task of coaching Molde after the striker legend. First as a substitute, then permanently when Solskjaer succeeded and was allowed to stay at the big club.
Mo immediately managed to achieve what Solskjaer could not in his second term as Molde coach. Rosenborg was ousted from the throne.
With two league golds, one gold cup and two league silvers, as well as promotion to the Europa League in 2020/21, the delivery has been flawless during Mo’s four full seasons as Molde coach.
But this season adversity arrived. He did not achieve any wins in the first four matches. The team advanced and was close to the Champions League, but lost to Galatasaray in the last round.
This fall the model failed again. After two straight losses in the series, Molde was knocked out of the medal match in Elitseren. In Europe, the team stands with zero points after two matches.
Molde are currently on course for their weakest season since 2016. This was Solskjaer’s first full season back at the club after his unsuccessful stay at Cardiff. Then in 2014, he left Molde after winning two gold medals.
The team currently sits in fifth place in the Eliteserien, exiting the medal match, and in the podcast of local newspaper Romsdal Budstikke, a sporting crisis was announced at the match.
Only a win in the cup final against Bodø/Glimt and progress in Europe, where they have lost both games so far, can save the season.
In the press conference ahead of Thursday’s important Europa League match against Per-Matthias Hojmoos-Haken, Dagbladet confronted Mo about why Molde had reached this position.
– I’d rather talk about the game tomorrow, then we can have the second discussion when the season is over, Mo replies, before dipping his toe a little into the topic.
– We here in Molde are not satisfied with being number five. But we cannot delay while we are in the period we are going through now with matches in Europe and the Premier League. We should spend our energy on what we can do something about, not what happened.
– it is easy. “We have to start winning football matches,” says Molde captain Magnus Wolf-Ekrem.
After Sunday’s loss to Brann, Mo said on TV2 that he had to call a spade a spade, describing his team as “disastrous” and using the words “very worrying”.
– We don’t want this to be the standard. Mo says: It is a gang seeking revenge and wants to refute the magnification of the crisis.
Hojmo won the Allsvenskan Championship last season and is on track for a bronze medal this season. But in Europe, there were two losses, just like my birth. So Thursday’s doubleheader, followed by the match in Gothenburg two weeks later, could prove decisive. The top two teams qualify, while the third team earns a place in the Conference League in the new year.
Both Moe and Eikrem believe the power ratio between the two teams should be equal. Ekrem points out that Molde lost both matches to Djurgården in the conference league last year, in two equal matches.
– It’s a Swedish-Norwegian team, a bit. Per Matthias has taken his ideas across borders. Norwegian football is slightly different from Swedish football. More direct with the typical 4-3-3 formation. He did it brilliantly, and Mo praises him.
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