Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested that the club’s objectives have now changed as a result of their brilliant form towards the end of the season. United are now unbeaten in 15 consecutive matches, scoring 38 goals, conceding four, and keeping 11 clean sheets has given them a chance to achieve more this season.
At the start of the season, Solskjaer and the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had a conversation with the Norwegian manager telling his boss that United were unlikely to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title this season. Solskjaer was tasked to improve the culture at the club first.
Last summer, Solskjaer made three signings; Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, getting the club well on the way to changing things. In January, Bruno Fernandes was added with Odion Ighalo on loan and United have been on the upward trajectory ever since, which is a good thing for Solskjaer and the club.
United have not lost a game in which Fernandes has made an appearance with the player now scoring six goals and four assists so far this season, which is an improvement to the squad with few goals coming from the midfield before his arrival. United are now closer to achieving a place in the UEFA Champions League next season, if they keep this trajectory.
United drew 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur, beat Sheffield United 3-0, then beat Norwich City 2-1 before their latest victory, a 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion since Project Restart after the coronavirus pandemic. Solskjaer feels that the squad is nearing the right quality to challenge those above them. After the Brighton victory, the manager said:
“The team is improving. We’re in with a shout for the Champions League next year and we still have the FA Cup and Europa League to play.
“The team is improving, the players are coming back and the style is better.”
Mason Greenwood was one of the standout players against Brighton, along with Fernandes, who scored a brace in the victory. Greenwood, scoring the opening goal, his 13th for the club the season, is a player that Solskjaer praised. United could actually end the season with a trophy, still being in the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Speaking about Greenwood, Solskjaer said:
“He’s getting better. You can see clearly that he’s maturing and improving, he’s only 18 still so we will see more from him.
“I’ve said it throughout the year that, as long as we can get him faced up in and around the box, he’ll create chances for us.
“But in this game his hold-up play and his link-up play and general movement was fantastic as well.
“He’s a special talent, a special kid that we are going to look after, try to develop into a top, top player. He’s doing well now, but he is still young and has things to learn. He knows that but we have a special talent there we have to nurture.”