Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Manchester United’s transfer strategy and pre-season plans are up in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic that swept the world, cancelling football for just over three months from mid-March. United are currently on a 17-match unbeaten run this season and could increase that on Monday.
United will welcome Southampton to the Theatre of Dreams on Monday evening, seeking to extend their run to 18 matches – continuing their good form at this important stage of the season. It is possible that with Chelsea losing to Sheffield United and Leicester City still yet to play, United could take advantage and break into the top four with a victory over the Saints.
Solskjaer has admitted that the clubs board will not panic or go crazy but has suggested that a place in the UEFA Champions League could ease the uncertainty with United, like all other clubs around the world, losing money because supporters are not allowed to attend matches yet and probably will not be able to for a while yet, unless something changes.
If United finished fifth in the league and Manchester City’s ban from European football was upheld, United would achieve Champions League football, however, if they are cleared, which could be the case if you believe Pep Guardiola’s positivity, United would need to fight for a fourth placed finish – they will know the result before facing Southampton. Solskjaer, talking about planning, confirmed:
“There’s quite a lot of planning going on. When do we start the league? That obviously is determined by how far we go in Europe, so you can’t really decide on the programme, the training programme.
“So there’s so many small decisions and of course transfers – that’s sometimes out of our hands as well because if the team is going well, what do we need? What don’t we need? Do you get injuries?
“That’s just the way of working in this job, that you’ve always got to plan for different scenarios. But the uncertainty of dates, how much holiday can you given them, how will next season look like – it’s still a little bit up in the air.
“I don’t think the club would either panic or suddenly go crazy with plans that we’ve already talked about for the years to come. You have to have a long-term plan but of course short-term maybe some decisions will be easier to make if or if not you get the Champions League.”