Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Insists Manchester United Are On Track For Success
By News Creatives Authors, in Business , at September 28, 2021
The Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been forced to defend himself after his side’s recent run of poor form.
In the last two weeks United have lost three of their last four games, to Young Boys in the Champions League, West Ham in the League Cup, and to Aston Villa in the Premier League at the weekend.
“The pressure is a privilege [and] to work in this environment you have to embrace it,” Solskjaer said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I have got to say I have been backed and the progress has worked well. The backing I have got seems to me we are sticking to that plan. Expectations have improved with the better signings and performances. I am here to win [and] we will get there, hopefully around April and May.”
“My focus is always to win the next game short-term and think long-term about the squad building. My focus now has been on winning this game, getting back on track.”
“Then we focus on the league again from Thursday morning. We would have loved to be top of the league, but we are still up there. With the squad and coach I have got we can improve and we will get that consistency.”
In the aftermath of United’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday, Solskjaer was criticised for his side’s lack of organisation and structure.
“Of course you are working on your style of play, your patterns,” he responded. “The Aston Villa game we broke up play really well, [but] attacked maybe too fast.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen any game with less efficient playing time. It was 44 minutes the ref gave us, but 45 minutes of effective playing time is one of the lowest I’ve ever seen, because it is normally 55, 60.”
Solskjaer’s insistence on playing two central defensive midfielders in Fred and Scott McTominay against Villa also attracted criticism.
“The stats for them two together, we have had many good results,” Solskjaer said. “The way we broke-up play against Villa I think they are very instrumental together. The energy and desire. I really like to have the two of them. I can trust them to give us what they’ve got.”
United’s first opportunity to regain some form comes on Wednesday night when they host Villarreal at Old Trafford in their second Champions League group game.
“It is a group stage, there are only six games and you need 10 or maybe 12 points to go through,” said Solskjaer.
“We lost three points last time. If you end up with zero or one point after two games you need to win the last four games probably. Not a must win game but an important one.”
Solskjaer is aware how difficult their Spanish opponents will be in this game having lost to them as recently as May in the Europa League final.
“You expect what you have learned in the last few seasons,” he said. “We have played each other five times, every time has been a draw. [They are] very well organised, technically very good.”
“They can play from the back. It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final. [It is] difficult to create chances against and we have to be better to create chances.”
United will be without their captain Harry Maguire, who picked up a calf injury against Aston Villa, and according to Solskjaer will now be out for a few weeks.
Nonetheless the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who boasts an impressive personal record against Villarreal from his time with Real Madrid in La Liga, gives Solskjaer great confidence of finally beating them.
“You can almost say when he starts it is one guaranteed goal. He has that record and he will score goals. [It is] 13 goals in 14 or 15 [games] against Villarreal, which means he enjoys playing against them. He is determined to score every time he is on the pitch.”