I never said it was going to be easy for Man United, says Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down the bumps in the road being endured by Manchester United, with the Red Devils boss eager to point that he “never said it was going to be easy this season”.
A clinical 4-0 victory over Chelsea on the opening weekend bode well for those at Old Trafford, but that result has not been used as a springboard for further success.
United have stagnated again, with a side that stumbled over the line in 2018-19 now struggling to burst out of the blocks.Questions have been asked of playing and coaching staff as a result, with expectation still high despite the regression of recent years and ongoing talk of long-term rebuilding projects.
Solskjaer insists he is not feeling the pressure and is refusing to buy into some of the criticism being aimed at the Red Devils.He told reporters ahead of a crunch clash with Arsenal on Monday: “I never said it was going to be easy this season.
“I’ve said it many times, there are going to be ups and downs, highs and lows and when we lose a game we have to trust ourselves and what we’re doing, eyes on the prize and keep working to the principles we believe in.
Any game in the Premier League is winnable but is also loseable, it’s margins, fine margins and sometimes you stand there smiling happy to have won a game, sometimes angry because you’ve lost, you’ve got to portray the right image.”United have switched focus under the guidance of Solskjaer, with more emphasis being placed on the development of young players and acquisition of home-grown talent.
The man calling the shots sees plenty of positives in that process, saying when asked for his assessment of the Red Devils’ class of 2019-20: “In my own words: It’s a team improving, evolving, a young team, the culture is there I see them every single day in training and we don’t have any issues with attitudes, with work rate, with desire.“Now can we trust ourselves, you can see against Astana and Rochdale they want to impress, do well and maybe they rush their finish at times. It is getting there.”
A lack of cutting edge has been an issue at times, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial struggling for goals and fitness of late.
Solskjaer is not overly concerned by that, with 17-year-old Mason Greenwood being given a chance to prove his worth, and believes finishing touches will come in time.
The former frontman added: “You can see how much we’ve improved defensively, that’s where we put the big money in with Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] and Harry [Maguire]. We don’t concede many chances, concede too many goals.
“The other way, going forward, is where we’ve struggled with injuries, Paul [Pogba], Anthony, Marcus, we’ve had some bad luck in that respect.“It’s about building relationships and it doesn’t help when you lose players.“These boys need to get the pattern of play and if you’re half a second with your movement, sometimes finishing could be better, could be frustrating but that’s also down to some outstanding keepers out there.”
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