Manchester United v Cardiff City: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot wait for Old Trafford return... but hopes Juan Mata is not ready to play

Former striker watched his Bluebirds team beat Bolton on Saturday

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt his side's 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at Bolton was the perfect preparation for Tuesday's Premier League trip to his old club Manchester United.

The Welsh outfit claimed their second victory in four games since Solskjaer took charge, with the decisive moment coming in the 50th minute when Fraizer Campbell slotted in.

Both ex-United man Campbell and the man who supplied the cross, Craig Noone, had come off the bench, as they did in the third round at Newcastle where a goal from each subsequently secured a 2-1 triumph.

The match was watched from the stands at the Reebok Stadium by United manager David Moyes and did not provide much in the way of entertainment, with very few real goalscoring opportunities being created.

But Solskjaer was delighted with the way his team approached the task of seeing off their Sky Bet Championship hosts and thought it was a good way for Cardiff to warm up for their other north-west assignment.

Asked if it had been the perfect preparation for the Old Trafford encounter, the Norwegian said: "Definitely. For players to get confidence and to feel good, you have to play well and score goals.

"Against Bolton we defended fantastically, so our defenders will have gone into the dressing room and then to the hotel thinking about their performances and what they did well.

"The goalkeeper (David Marshall) did fantastically again, and Fraizer and the forward lads will be thinking about the goal that was scored and the good moves we put together. You can only get confidence from performances and results."

Solskjaer admits it has been a "dream" of his to return to United, who he played for between 1996 and 2007, as a Premier League manager and that he had swiftly scoured the fixtures to see when it would happen once he landed the post at Cardiff.

"I looked at it the day I got the job - when we were playing Man United," the 40-year-old former striker said.

"Since then it has been so busy, I haven't had time to think about it. But now, my focus is of course on that game. It is a dream."

When that dream is fulfilled on Tuesday, Solskjaer may well find his team having to handle United's new record signing Juan Mata, with the playmaker having completed his switch from Chelsea on Saturday for £37.1million.

Regarding the Spain international, Solskjaer joked: "I think he will have to wait until next weekend to play for United - well, hopefully he will!

"He is one of the top players in European and world football. He has done fantastically for Chelsea over the last few years. United have signed a top, top player."

 

Solskjaer, whose side are currently bottom of the Premier League, made five changes to his starting XI for the cup tie, opting to drop the likes of Steven Caulker and Gary Medel to the bench for a rest along with Noone and Campbell.

He said he had anticipated that Bolton - currently 18th in the Championship - would prove tricky opponents, though, particularly given they were looking to bounce back from a 7-1 defeat to Reading last time out.

And certainly Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman thought his men had done a good job of making life difficult for the visitors.

"It was a spirited performance and there wasn't a lot in the game," Freedman said.

"It was decided by a goalkeeping error, which is difficult to swallow - the defeat wasn't anything to do with our performance in general.

"I felt we defended well and created opportunities. A Premier League side had to change the way they were playing in the second half to try to cope with us going forward.

"We have been working on our defensive duties all week, and this was a fantastic response to what happened at Reading."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power