Solskjaer: I know who will take Man Utd to the next level

By Guy Atkinson 14 May 2019 893
Solskjaer: I know who will take Man Utd to the next level

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the club's woeful end to the season has helped him decide which players he wants to build a new-look side around.

United's form improved dramatically following Solskjaer's interim appointment in December, with the club launching an assault on the Premier League's top four, as well as reaching the Champions League quarter-finals.

But a dire run-in saw them close the season winless in six in all competitions, finishing in sixth place and a whopping 32 points behind champions Manchester City.

Solskjaer, who was appointed permanently in March, acknowledges that his side's form dropped off badly in the closing weeks of the season but aims to use the experience to help mould a new side ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

"I've learned that I don't like losing," he told Manchester United's official app. "I like winning.

"We started off fantastically. The boys were unbelievable when I came in. We were positive. We won games. The whole group gelled together, and I enjoyed winning but I know that football is hard.

"You can't just expect everything to go that way and the reality hit us. We are in a league with loads of very good teams and, to be at our top [level], we need to be 100 per cent focused.

"We came into some games really, really focused with the full team and I thought that was fantastic.

"Then you learn a lot when you go through tough times and think about who can we build this team around, and who we think is going to take the next step because we need to go to the next level."

Solskjaer concedes his players struggled both physically and mentally throughout the campaign, citing the change of manager mid-season as a disruptive factor.

"The last period has been difficult but that doesn't mean the team or players have become any worse," he explained.

"We've just found it hard. It's been a long, emotional season for them physically, as well as emotionally. When you lose your manager halfway through the season, it's not easy for the players."

Solskjaer has also confirmed Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mark Dempsey will stay on as part of his coaching team next season.

The news follows last week's confirmation Mike Phelan would remain as the Norwegian's assistant after he signed a three-year deal.

"They are all going to stay," he said. "I think that's important, that we keep that team going forward. We do bounce off each other and they are some excellent coaches."

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