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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss