The Norwegian boss feels he is on the right track after clearing out the deadwood of previous regimes with a view to restoring the club’s “culture”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he “had to tear the house down” in order to begin a rebuilding job at Manchester United, with a number of key personnel changes made since his appointment as head coach.
Solskjaer has dismantled the squad he inherited from Jose Mourinho brick by brick, while adding five new players to the squad over the course of two transfer windows.
The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have all been moved on, while Chris Smalling, Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo have been sent out on loan after being deemed surplus to requirements.
Daniel James, Aaron Wan Bissaka and Harry Maguire joined United last summer, as Solskjaer set about bringing in young, homegrown talent after six years of mediocrity post-Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Old Trafford.
However, despite the wholesale changes made over the last year, United have endured the same struggles over the course of the 2019-20 season.
The Red Devils have slipped to seventh in the Premier League standings after 25 fixtures, with their chances of Champions League qualification likely to slip away unless a consistent streak can be discovered quickly after the winter break.
Solskjaer was able to add Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes to his ranks in the January window in order to boost their top-four bid, along with ex-Watford striker Odion Ighalo, who has moved to Old Trafford on loan from Shanghai Shenhua.
When asked to discuss the moves he’s made in the transfer market, the Norwegian explained that he only wants players willing to “give everything” to United’s cause going forward.
“I’ve been asked to do this job,” he told reporters. “I think the fans see what we’re trying to do and it had to be done.
“As I’ve said last week, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, five weeks ago – it’s a rebuild. You had to tear the house down and you had to get players out that weren’t here in their minds.
“We’ve got players here now who will go that extra yard, that culture I want to set, that’s the Man United culture.
“I know we’re not in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, but the players that we have, they have the right mentality and they’re good personalities.
“That, for me, is the first tick. You don’t stay here if you don’t give everything to this team.”
Fernandes was handed his debut in a 0-0 draw against Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday, which only served to increase the pressure on Solskjaer.
The United head coach is still calling for patience, however, insisting his current squad are capable of winning titles as they progress in the coming years.
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“Of course, we are a different squad to the championship-winning squad that Sir Alex Ferguson had,” Solskjaer added.
“You can’t expect this group of players now – they haven’t had that experience of winning and having that, but that will come in the next few years, definitely.
“That’s what we’re working for and that’s why those players are here, because I can see the Man United character in them.”