• Premier League

Solskjaer still open to Aston Villa job

ESPN staff
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer learned his trade at Manchester United © Getty Images
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated he plans to remain at Molde but suggested he could still take the Aston Villa job.

Solskjaer met with Villa owner Randy Lerner on Friday to hold talks over succeeding Alex McLeish, who was dismissed at the end of the season, but it was announced at a press conference in Norway on Saturday that he would not be taking the post.

"Molde FK have a contract with Ole Gunnar and Ole Gunnar has a contract with Molde FK," chairman Oystein Neerland said. "We see no reason to change this now."

Solskjaer added: "I have an ambition to be a manager in the Premier League, but I'm not seeking a new job. In football, and in life in general, things turn up that you have to make decisions about. I have a contract for two more years and I'll stand by that."

However, he has also said: "It's up to Aston Villa whether there's anything more. I've only spoken with them and expect them to speak to more people. They're looking for a new manager. If they make contact, I'll make a decision then."

Businessman Kjell Inge Rokke, Molde's billionaire backer, had announced his company, Aker ASA, would pull the plug on the club as a result of the manager's decision to travel to England for talks. Both Solskjaer and the club confirmed that he had been granted permission to travel to Birmingham.

"We strive for personal development and players who do well get requests all the time," Solskjaer said. "I was asked by a friend whether I was interested in speaking with Villa. I called Kjell Inge straight away. We agreed that I could speak to them on Wednesday - that it was okay.

"I don't feel that I have lost anyone's confidence. I had a good chat with Molde this morning where we agreed that we should look forward. We have some challenges we need to tackle. I will also speak to Kjell Inge as I must apologise for the way this came out.

"Roberto Martinez has been given permission to speak to Liverpool, who are a fantastic big club and you know he has ambitions - not a problem.

"The communication could have been better and clearer, we see that with hindsight, but now we are where we are, it's obvious that we have to work together. The players are used to speculation about me. What is new is we have lost the backing from Aker ASA, which I understand has been discussed at length.

"Whether it's coincidence or not, it's happened now. We'll get answers. I received a text from Rokke today and we'll discuss it with each other soon."

Molde managing director Tarje Jacobsen said on Saturday: "It's important for us to stress that there was a request Ole Gunnar put to me on Wednesday, from Aston Villa, who wanted to speak to him. We had a short conversation about it and it was decided that Ole Gunnar would fly over on Friday and speak to them, but that it would be done as quietly as possible.

"On May 17 we felt we no longer had control over the situation, when we learned through the media that the plane had been spotted in Kristiansund. I then made it clear to Ole Gunnar that, if things had become public, we didn't want him to go."

He added: "Co-operation between Molde FK and Aker ASA has lasted for 20 years and has been good. Aker ASA stands by its obligation for 2012, so we have time to find funding for the club. It's a situation that we are confident we can resolve."

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