Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that he is ready to take some tough decisions at Old Trafford as he prepares for a squad overhaul.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named the permanent head coach in March after he replaced Jose Mourinho in December last year. Manchester United have won 15 games in all competitions under the Norwegian – but remain in 6th place in the Premier League, two points behind Arsenal.
The Norwegian is set to be handed with record funds to rebuild a squad which is capable of mounting a genuine Premier League title challenge next season. That could see as many as five new additions when the summer transfer window opens, with Borussia Dortmund youngster Jadon Sancho, West Ham star Declan Rice and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, topping an extensive list of targets.
Ander Herrera is reportedly set to join Paris Saint-Germain and there are also doubts over Juan Mata, while the futures of Alexis Sanchez, Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo are uncertain. Solskjaer confirmed Antonio Valencia will definitely be leaving and the club will be looking for a new captain. Considering who might take on the role, the manager said: “We’ve had Antonio, he’s going. We’ve had Ashley [Young], we’ve had Paul [Pogba] and David [de Gea]. Chris [Smalling] has been captain. There are players here who can be captain on the pitch. We just need to decide who’s going to be the voice in and around. There’s always certain criteria. He has to be one of the ‘cultural architects’, to put it in a nice way. Someone you look up to, someone with the right habits and standards and the personality to be that.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “I’m under no illusions that this is not going to be plain sailing, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best. That’s how ruthless we have to be. We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward. That means culture in the dressing room and what we do every single day here to make us challenge again.
Liverpool and City are too far ahead at the moment for what we like. We played against a Barcelona team that sets the standard in European football.”
Gunnar further added: “We’re under no illusion it’s going to be hard work and there will be some tough decisions made by me, Mike [Phelan] and the club. We have a certain standard here. We got a great boost, now it’s more challenging times with the results and performances.
You want to see players step up and say now, ‘I want to be part of this.’ You saw Fred and Scott [McTominay] the other day took the mantle up. That’s what we expect from all the players.”
Manchester United are currently in 6th position and 3 points adrift of the 3rd position. But they will face Manchester City and Chelsea in their last few games. And they will have to win those to secure a Champions League place in the next season. Solskjaer said: “If we get 15 points we’ll be top three because in those games hopefully we’ll beat Chelsea. But now it’s about West Ham and focusing on a good performance to give us three points.
We want top three. Top four is also an aim if we don’t get 15 points, but we should aim for 15 points.”
Solskjaer’s Manchester United will play West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday before travelling to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
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