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Spirit of '99 can inspire my boys, says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

By Lewis Samuel

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to replicate the spirit of Manchester United's treble-winning season to lift the club back to the top.

Solskjaer famously scored the injury-time winner in the Champions League final when Sir Alex Ferguson's United side scooped three trophies in 1999.

Now the Red Devils manager, the Norwegian intends to build the side around the principles that worked so well 20 years ago.

Solskjaer said: "We challenged each other every day in training. There were fights and there was an inner justice that I've not seen in too many teams.

"We never, ever accepted anyone being below par in training. We kicked each other and we had to win every single day. That moved over into games and we never gave in. There was an unbelievable team spirit.

"I want my players to really push each other and demand 100 per cent attitude from each other every single day. That's the only way you can improve and it's the only way you can win.

"We had something special. It's a different group now and the challenge is, 'How can I make these players winners as we were?'"

United are currently sixth in the Premier League but are just three points behind third-placed Tottenham and are still in contention in the Champions League.

They face La Liga leaders Barcelona in the first leg of their quarter-final at Old Trafford tomorrow night.

United are not the favourites for the tie but Solskjaer, who oversaw an impressive comeback victory over Paris St Germain in the last round, is confident.

Solskjaer said: "We're playing against a good team but there is something special about this group of players. It will be fantastic."

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed that the Spanish giants were priced out of signing Paul Pogba by Manchester United's £90million bid.

The La Liga leaders were determined to recruit Pogba in 2016 and held advanced negotiations with Juventus that were ultimately undone when United offered a then record transfer fee that was accepted.

"In the summer of 2015, Paul Pogba was playing in Turin and we simply told Juve that, if one day they decide to sell the player, we would be interested," Bartomeu said.

"When they sold the player, they told us what the offer would have to be and we couldn't afford that amount of money at the time.

"So he went to United, and he's making them better as a team because he's one of the stars of the world of football right now."

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