Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches daughter secure WSL Academy League title

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches on as his daughter Karna secures the WSL Academy League title with Manchester United Women U21s with a 6-2 aggregate win over Chelsea

  • Man United Women U21 beat Chelsea to secure the WSL Academy League title
  • The Manchester youth side also lifted the WSL Academy Cup back in March
  • Ex-United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in attendance for both triumphs
  • The 49-year-old watched his daughter, Karna, play in the win with his wife, Silje

Manchester United Women U21 beat Chelsea 6-2 on aggregate to secure the WSL Academy League title.

The Red Devils won the Northern Division while the Blues finished top of the Southern league, with the two teams then taking part in a two-legged play-off for the overall title. United won first leg at Cobham 3-1 last week and followed that up with another 3-1 victory at Altrincham on Wednesday afternoon.

It means it’s a second trophy for Karna Solskjaer, daughter of United legend and former manager Ole Gunnar – who was in attendance with wife Silje at the J.Davison Stadium.

Manchester United Women U21 beat Chelsea to secure the WSL Academy League title

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched on as his daughter, Karna, lifted a second trophy of the season

The 49-year-old was also in attendance when United beat Birmingham 4-1 to lift the WSL Academy Cup in March.


Both Solskjaers were in demand as they posed for photos with United fans. Karna, 19, made her first-team debut in an FA Cup match at Bridgwater in January.

She had a goal-bound header blocked in the box in the early stages of the game before Keira Barry scored twice to put United 2-0 ahead at half-time.

The first goal saw defender Chloe Williams win the ball back in midfield before playing in Barry down the right, who kept her cool to lift the ball over Chelsea goalkeeper Amber Webber.

Both Solskjaers (pictured left Ole Gunnar) were in demand as they posed for photos with fans

The former Red Devils boss was in attendance with wife Silje at the J.Davison Stadium

Barry struck again shortly before half-time to double United’s lead. The winger met a long ball from Niamh Murphy down the left, cut inside and fired a curling shot into the bottom right corner.

Substitute Megan Sofield hit a sweet volley from a corner to put United 3-0 up in the second half before Tegan McGowan grabbed a late consolation for the Blues with a free-kick which flew into the top left corner.

United academy manager Charlotte Healy, who was doused in water by her players after the game, said: ‘I’m really pleased for the girls, they obviously want to win trophies, that’s what they set out to do. But as staff, the challenge for us is how do we create experiences that are real life and will go and help them as they progress through – whether it’s playing for our first team or other first teams.

‘We’ve had some really good team performances this season and we’ve had some really good individual performances. I didn’t think we were great with the ball in either leg if I’m totally honest, I didn’t think we played as a team as well as we have in previous performances but I think you saw individuals shine.

Karna (centre) had a goal-bound header blocked in the box in the early stages of the game

‘Three goals, especially the second and third goals were outstanding, there’s some real quality across our whole pathway and we know that. You’ve seen two under 16’s on the pitch today, Meg scored that third goal which was a really great finish. 

‘The challenge is how do we step them up over that transition from 16-21 and then the older in this group, again, progress them from 21 to first team because the gaps are huge. 

‘I think a big way of filling those gaps is experiences and making sure the girls do experience difficult games and the challenges that come with senior football.

First team boss Marc Skinner was also in attendance as well as several of his players. When Solskjaer made her debut for United back in January, Skinner suggested there were similarities between father and daughter.

He said: ‘Honestly, if you watch some of her finishes from this season, she’s got a wonderful, wonderful finishing ability.

‘She has a wonderful physical stature, I didn’t realise how tall Ole was until I met him in person.

First team boss Marc Skinner suggested there were similarities between father and daughter

‘She’s an extremely tall player. She does play slightly differently to Ole in terms of she does, for our under-21s, tend to play in a wider situation and come into the box.

‘But what she does have and, I want to make sure Ole tries to pass these secrets on, she has a wonderful finishing ability.

‘But I’ve always found with the wonderful finishers, it’s how they calm their mind and see the opportunity rather than the obstacle.

‘Ole was wonderful at doing that and I think Karna has that same trait. I think they’ve learned it, I think it’s a learned trait.’

Skinner added in the comments back in January: ‘Ole is a wonderful character and has obviously been a wonderful player and manager for this club and means so much to it.

‘But Karna is her own person and it’s not right, and I know Ole more importantly would [say] ‘it’s not about me, it’s about Karna’. He’d be a wonderful [person] to help educate her.’

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