– I’m not that stupid

ULLEVAAL (Dagbladet): 2-0 over Slovakia. And 9-0 over Armenia. Ståle Solbakken has gotten the start he wanted for the 2022 national team.

While last year was not normal due to coronary restrictions, the situation is starting to normalize in the world of football. Solbakken can play as coach of the national team, where he can also visit clubs and managers.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will have no credit for Tuesday’s win over Armenia. But this encounter with footballing figures earlier this winter is part of the big puzzle: Solbakken will get all the encouragement and inspiration and send Norway into the European Championship finals in 2024.

GOOD START: Ståle Solbakken led Norway to 2-0 wins over Slovakia and 9-0 over Armenia. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
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– We’ve had some of the world’s busiest days in England, says the 54-year-old of the prelude to two private internationals.

“We” are he and analyst Andrew Findlay.

– We visited Watford, Arsenal, Manchester City and several other teams. We watched four or five games in five days and visited four clubs. We got a lot of good feedback from Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Roy Hodgson and many more.

Loaded with leaks: - Shock

Charged for
leak: – Shock

– Who inspires you or makes an impression?

– I guess everyone does. From our point of view it is important to have a good chat with Arteta with Martin degaard in mind. He is our captain and has an increasing position at Arsenal. But we had good conversations with everyone.

– How open is Guardiola in such a meeting?

– He is very open, even about things I do not wonder.

– Like what?

– I’m not that stupid, said Solbakken and chuckled. Implicit: He already has some knowledge.

DISCLOSURE: Sergio Busquets stepped in when Ståle Solbakken and Pep Guardiola had a heated discussion at Park 12 years ago.  Photo: NTB

DISCLOSURE: Sergio Busquets stepped in when Ståle Solbakken and Pep Guardiola had a heated discussion at Park 12 years ago. Photo: NTB
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As many will remember, Solbakken and Guardiola ended in a touchline victory in 2010. FC Copenhagen and Barcelona met in wild and seething Parken.

Big profile Sergio Busquets intervened and there was a push. The commotion died down since the first game between the teams, where Barcelona goalkeeper José Pinto whistled as loudly as he could when Copenhagen’s Cesar Santin single-handedly passed him. He thought the referee blew for offside and stopped.

– I said something like Barcelona are rotten eggs in the basket, Solbakken has told about the meeting with the Camp Nou giants.

But football is about moving. And the two coaches have met several times after the brawl.

Book private flights

Book private flights

For Solbakken and Norway, the seriousness of the Nations League starts in June. Serbia, Sweden and Slovenia are opponents for ten days.

– What’s left after two private international matches?

– That we have a good collection and have practiced a lot tactically. We have been shown some pictures and have worked well with the whole squad. “I think everyone is a little wiser,” Solbakken told Dagbladet.

Roderick Glisson

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