Solskjaer unambivalent about his desire to win trophies

Interim boss targets Champions League and FA Cup – as well as a top-four place for United

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “We’ve got the Champions League, we’ve got the FA Cup, we can’t just say top four and that’s it.” Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “We’ve got the Champions League, we’ve got the FA Cup, we can’t just say top four and that’s it.” Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is adamant a top-four finish for Manchester United can never be the “dream” – the interim manager stating the club is all about winning trophies.

The Norwegian’s comments come the day after Mauricio Pochettino dismissed silverware as merely “building egos” following Tottenham Hotspur’s elimination from the FA Cup.

When Solskjær took over United were 11 points from a Champions League berth and are now only three.

Although not referring to Pochettino’s stance, he said: “That’s not the dream though, to be top four. We’re Man United – you should always aim to win the league. We can’t do that this year but we’ve just got to look forward to that again because we have to get back to that.”

Solskjær is targeting a trophy this season.

“We’ve got the Champions League, we’ve got the FA Cup, we can’t just say top four and that’s it,” he said. “We’ve got to look at: ‘Can we win something this year?’

“I am not here to discuss what Pochettino says and what other managers say. First of all, it’s the next game [that is vital] but we are about winning trophies, of course we are – and we can’t win the league this year. I think every manager wants to win every game so I don’t think that is the point he [Pochettino] was making [that trophies are not desirable].

“If you win trophies, that’s a fantastic day for everyone in the club; it’s just the best time of your life, that day when you win, because you never know when the next one is going to come. I am just saying that here at this club we are looking to win trophies.”

If United defeat Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Solskjær’s side will draw level with Chelsea, who are fourth and play on Wednesday.

“There is still a long way to go, so we just need to focus on the next game,” he said of European Cup qualification. “I know it’s boring to hear this, but it’s about improving, it’s about getting better. It’s great that we’ve picked up eight wins.”

Long-term development

Solskjær is preparing United for next season “with or without” still being in charge. The Norwegian has won his opening eight games as caretaker, with United having never fallen behind under him yet his status remains as the temporary number one. Solskjær, though, is still considering the long-term development of the side.

He said: “What Manchester United are going to look like next season with or without me, it doesn’t matter, I’m here to prepare for next season.”

Part of this will be to play homegrown players Mason Greenwood, Jimmy Garner and Ethan Hamilton.

“We have quite a few talents in that youth team that you’d like to see [in the side] and [you] will see at some point before next season to put the club and team in a good position [for] how will we look like next season: Mason, Jimmy, Ethan - it’s just about the right time.

“But we’ve got Alexis [Sánchez] , Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku who haven’t played so much lately, they’re three players you have to jump ahead of.”

Solskjær reiterated that he does not think any players will leave in the transfer window.

He said: “At the moment I can see everyone staying at the club. No deals have been done with anyone. There are still a few more days but I’m not too involved in the negotiations, so whatever happens happens. It’ll be good to get the window closed and improving the players in the squad still here.”

Asked about the potential for midfielder Andreas Pereira to move this month, Solskjær replied: “No. I can’t see him going out on loan because Andreas has done fantastic in training ever since I come back. He’s a player I can see playing quite a few games for us towards the end of the season.”

– Guardian

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