Saturday 24

Manchester United

Solskjaer expects to challenge in two years

9th February 2019, 08:47 by Nick Harris

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes two years is enough for him to get Manchester United to become serious title challengers.

Poor performances and background issues led to Jose Mourinho losing his job in December when the Old Trafford giants surprisingly decided to turn to the fan favourite for the remainder of the season.

Solskjaer has confounded the doubters by winning nine of his first 10 matches in all competitions and being named January's Barclays manager of the month - the first United boss to win the award since Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012.

Now the bookmakers' favourite to take the job on a permanent basis rather than return to Molde, the Norwegian says he already has a "picture of how I think this Man United team will look in a couple of years".

Solskjaer has put those views across to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who cannot fail to be impressed by the caretaker's work and belief that United will soon go from a top-four fight to genuine title challengers.

"I think we're too far behind this year, obviously," he said of this year's Premier League title race. "But you've got to catch up with the other teams ahead of us, especially (Manchester) City, Liverpool but now Tottenham - they're really in the running as well.

"So obviously it's three teams that have been far ahead but we've beaten Tottenham, so we know that we're capable of that but we need the consistency.

"But two years' time is long enough, but also short enough to say that we've got the possibility to make a big difference in our preparation, in everything. Next year, you always hope, of course.

"I came in from Molde, they were 10th in 2010, and in 2011 we won the league, so you can never say never."

Solskjaer says "challenging for every trophy" is the vision and what United should be about given their history, resources and infrastructure.

It is a far cry from the tone struck by Mourinho, who led the side to Europa League glory in 2017 but spoke about United's lack of recent continental "heritage" when exiting the Champions League to Sevilla the following year.

Put to him that it is a long time since United were considered regular Champions League favourites, Solskjaer said: "But that is what we have to strive for.

"If we don't dream and we don't have that vision of where we are going, then we will just falter. So for us, or me, I am only used to this club challenging for trophies so that is where I see us."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.

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