Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that Man United’s slump after Alex Ferguson will be over soon as he welcomes his team’s “incremental strides” towards winning the title … despite being 11 points behind elected champions Man City
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United is making progress
- They are well on their way to second place in the league behind Man City
- United are also in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League after Granada’s victory
- Solskjaer believes eight sterile years are almost over after Alex Ferguson’s resignation
- But the United boss admitted his team has more work to do to challenge
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United can see light at the end of the tunnel after eight years of turmoil at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson’s resignation.
United will take second place in the Premier League in Manchester City and have reached the fifth semifinals under Solskjaer in the Europa League.
While the United boss accepts that this is still not good enough for a United-stature club, he can see clear signs that the Ferguson slump is coming to an end.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shakes hands with Juan Mata after Manchester United advance to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals
Solskjaer believes United are making steady strides to regularly fight for the Premier League title like they did under Sir Alex Ferguson
United made it easy for Granada to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals
“We are not in the era of Sir Alex and have been through a period of transformation since he left,” said Solskjaer.
‘That would always happen because there was no one better, there never will be. He was the boss. He was the one who was always difficult to replace.
“But it goes step by step, and if we do it well enough, you will get trophies and championship titles, which is of course our goal. Everyone knows what I’m talking about.
“You have to make progress step by step, that’s the reality. If we can get second and keep winning and finishing second – if Man City wins all the games and we win ours – you want to finish strong.
‘Third last year, second just before a trophy. It’s progress. It’s not the final – the final wins the league. ‘
United Trail Champions-Elect Manchester City with 11 points in the Premier League
Solskjaer won six Premier League as a United player and wants to do the same as a manager
United beat Tottenham 3-1 in their last game in the Premier League and will face Burnley next
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless otherwise stated
Sunday Burnley (H)
April 25th Leeds United (A)
April 29th Roma (H)
UEFA Europa League semi-finals
May 1st TBC Liverpool (H)
May 6th Roma (A)
UEFA Europa League semi-finals
8th of May TBC Aston Villa (A)
May 11th TBC Leicester City (H)
United have beaten three of the last four in the Champions League this season – City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain – which further encourages Solskjaer that his team is on the verge of competing at the highest level again.
“The reality is that we are in the Europa League and in the Champions League,” said the Norwegian, who saw United score a semi-final against Roma against Granada on Thursday night.
“But when you sit and watch the games and you know how well you did against these teams, you know we are less than a million miles away.
‘It’s about consistency. Sometimes it is small details, fine edges, that speak against you. We would have liked to go through the group stage. I felt we had done enough at one point, but we just couldn’t get it over the line.
“Now it’s about getting better and getting inspiration from good performances against them and learning from the poor performances and results that we have achieved.”
United can be eight points behind City with six games left if they beat Burnley at home on Sunday, while Pep Guardiola’s side face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend. However, Solskjaer accepts that the gap is too big to fill now.
“Of course we will never give up,” he added. ‘Man United will never give up. This club has had too many setbacks and too many great comebacks to have in our DNA.
‘Is it Realistic? No, probably not. When you have a team as consistent as Man City, don’t expect them to lose three of their last six games. As long as we’re doing our job, we want to end the season strong and play one game after the other. ‘
United will check late on Marcus Rashford, who missed the Granada game due to injury, but are hoping to have Eric Bailly available again after a positive Covid test.
Striker Marcus Rashford could return to the United team to meet Burnley on Sunday
Defender Eric Bailly (left) should be available again after a positive Covid-19 test
The Ivorian’s future at Old Trafford is in doubt as talks continue on a new contract, but Solskjaer sees no problems.
“Eric isolated at home in Ivory Coast but he’s back now,” said the United manager.
“I hope he will be available for the weekend. Hopefully he trains on Friday and see how he feels.
‘Eric played well when he played. I know there has been speculation. We talk to him about his contract and I don’t see any problems with him. ‘