Solskjaer Ready For Hendry Battle

Date Published: 
1998-06-16
Source: 
4TheGame.com

Norway's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lit the flames for the make-or-break World Cup clash with Scotland by accusing Colin Hendry of being a "crude" player.

Manchester United star Solskjaer is under no illusions as to what kind of treatment to expect from the Blackburn defender after their scraps in the FA Premiership.

And the heat of battle will be more intense than ever in Bordeaux with both sides knowing that defeat will virtually end their hopes of reaching the second phase.

But Solskjaer insisted that the Norwegians are capable of giving as good as they get when the going gets tough.

Solskjaer, recovered from the ankle injury suffered in the opening 2-2 draw with Morocco, admitted: "I've got a few pictures back home where Colin Hendry tries to strangle me!

"But that's the name of the game. Sometimes you have to be crude and it did not shock me. Let's say that in Norway we also don't play football with our hands in our pockets. We can look after ourselves if we have to.

"There is a lot at stake and it is a game that both sides have to win to have a chance of qualifying. I think the onus from Scotland and Norway will be on attack.

"It's a massive game and I hope I can do myself justice after being disappointed with the way I played against Morocco.

"But when you have played in Champions' League quarter-finals and semi-finals you know you have the experience to raise your game for the challenge of a vital World Cup match."

Solskjaer will again have to play in an out-of-position left-flank role with Tore Andre Flo the lone striker in a 4-5-1 system.

But after an injury-wrecked second season at Old Trafford he is relieved to be playing in any position.

"The last few months have been frustrating because I've never been out for such a long spell through injury before and it felt like I had hit a brick wall," said Solskjaer.

"Then there was the disappointment on top of that of United not winning anything, but it's all part of the learning experience.

"You have to cope with things like that and at least I am not jaded going into the World Cup through playing too many games."

Solskjaer is also hoping that he can maintain his lucky mascot tag for Norway. In 14 internationals he has scored eight times and not been on the losing side in any match he has started for his country.

"The only time we have been beaten when I was involved was when we lost 3-2 to Trinidad and Tobago in 1995 when I came on as substitute for the last 15 minutes," he said.

"Every game I have started we have either won or drawn - so let's hope the manager (Egil Olsen) keeps me in the starting 11."