Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may only be Manchester United’s interim manager at the moment, but that has not stopped him planning for the future.
Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a long-term vision for the team and has put that to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward as he looks to secure a permanent stay.
Solskjaer in December replaced Jose Mourinho until the end of the season, with the club seeking short-term stability to allow them to conduct a thorough recruitment process.
Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham swiftly emerged as the favourite for the permanent post, but United have enjoyed a remarkable resurgence under Solskjaer, winning nine of his 10 matches in charge across all competitions.
On top of their winning form, the Norwegian has overseen an improvement from several players, with Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all finding another level.
United confirmed the contract renewal of Phil Jones on Friday, adding to new deals for Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial since Solskjaer’s return to the club, and he believes he is making his mark on the club.
“Well, every day I feel that I do help the club, do put a little bit of my stamp on it,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday.
“But decisions, sometimes of players’ futures, are not [just] down to me, either. It’s the players; do they want to stay? Do they want to move on? Do they want something else?
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 8, 2019
“And I’ve got a picture of what this Man United team should look like in a couple of years, I don’t know if it [the future] is with me, but I put my views to Ed [Woodward] and the club.
“I’ve supported Man United and I’ve followed Man United for many, many years since I’ve gone back home.
“I did have a clear view on what I thought my opinion would be. You get a different view on some of the players, ‘he’s impressed me’, ‘he’s got some way to go’. But we’re not too far away from when I came.”
Nemanja Matic recently said he believes United could win the title next season after showing significant signs of improvement since Mourinho left, and Solskjaer admires such attitudes.
However, he was eager to make sure they remain focused on the task at hand, particularly with other big matches to come after facing Fulham on Saturday.
“I hope so,” Solskjaer said when asked if he felt the same as Matic. “That they believe they can do that – you cannot outperform your ego, that’s one of those mantles, you have to trust and believe yourself if you want to be a champion and win.
“It’s how you prepare for every single game, how we demand that we focus on every single day in training for every single game.
“Of course, you take one step at a time and that [finishing in the top four] is one of the goals we have set, and if we do so [get into the top four on Saturday], we want to stay there and improve on that. It’s been fantastic the last two months, so consistency now is the key word.
“The Fulham game is a ‘character revealer’. It reveals whether we have the focus on what’s important, which is always the next game, and whether we can forget about Paris Saint-Germain [in the Champions League last 16].
“The focus has been around the PSG, Chelsea and Liverpool games for a long time, but they’re not the games that will move us up the table, they’re the other games.”