Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that the Hirt of watching Liverpool romp to their first Premier League title will spur his team on to get United back to where they should be – challenging for the Premier League title. It was seven seasons ago that Sir Alex Ferguson clinched United’s 20th league title, their 13th Premier League title.
It has taken Liverpool 30 years to win another league title, securing the 2019/20 Premier League title after Manchester City were defeated 2-1 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It has an effect when you see other teams win the Premier League, seeing City (three), Chelsea (twice) and Leicester City and Liverpool (both once), win in the last seven seasons.
Solskjaer would like to see Liverpool have a brief spell at the top and would like to be the team challenging them next season and beyond. That would need to see some major improvement at United between now and the start of next season with the club needing some new additions to make the team worthy of challenging those at the very top.
Solskjaer gave credit to Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp for taking on the challenge and winning their first league title in 30 years, also confirming that it hurts to see it, which will be the same for every club out there, especially City who seemed to be dislodged of their grip on the title easily with Liverpool running away with it. Solskjaer said:
“Any team that wins the Premier League deserves it. They deserve credit. It is a hard league to win. Credit to Jurgen and his players.
“But every time you see anyone else lift a trophy, it hurts. That’s the feeling everyone associated with Manchester United. We want to get back to winning ways. That is our challenge.”
Solskjaer has history at United and made some of that history himself, helping the club win a prestigious treble during the 1998/99 season, which has not yet been matched by any other English club. Sir Alex Ferguson built a dynasty, winning 13 Premier League titles, ending a 26-year period without a league title. Solskjaer continued by saying:
“A run of titles like we had under Sir Alex Ferguson will not be easy for anyone to copy. He was a master of staying at the top.
“Our challenge is to make sure it is not 26 years or more before we win it. We need to shorten the distance or go past them.”
Solskjaer says that he sees signs from his team that what he is building at the club is starting to head in the right direction, which is the first time in seven years that this is happening, despite the club winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Europa League post-Ferguson. Earning a UEFA Champions League place will be a start, then Solskjaer expects to take it from there. He said:
“The consistency and efficiency they have shown. That is a challenge for us as well. At our best we are very good. We have to do it again and again. That is the challenge for us going forward.
“We have to get into Champion League, get higher up the league and start challenging for trophies.”
Solskjaer has seen the highs and the lows in his relatively short time managing United and is now seeking that upward trajectory and few excuses from himself and his players. This season could be the start of something at United for Solskjaer and his team. Things do seem to be different under the Norwegian, despite his critics, albeit on social media. He said:
“I expect the players to turn up every time they get a chance to perform for Manchester United. I don’t expect bumps.
“You don’t go looking for them. We are on the right track. Every game is a game you can win.
“We have shown what we can do at our best. Gaps between the lows getting bigger. I am not looking for bumps.”
United will be back in FA Cup action on Saturday when they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City in what will be the third meeting between the teams this season, United winning both matches 3-1 and 4-0. It would be a good start to win a trophy this season with the FA Cup likely to be the first option. Solskjaer concluded by saying:
“The FA Cup is a fantastic tournament and final to be a part of and trophy to lift.
“This is a new team and to get our hands on first trophy would be fantastic and hopefully catalyst for what is to come.”