Belfast Telegraph

Solskjaer: It's unlikely I'll bring in new faces


All good: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is happy with his United squad
All good: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is happy with his United squad

By Eleanor Crooks

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not expecting any reinforcements to join his squad this month.

The interim Manchester United boss has made the perfect start to life back at Old Trafford by overseeing four successive Premier League wins, pulling the club to within six points of the top four.

He is planning to sit down with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to discuss the club's transfer plans for January, but said: "I'm happy with the squad I've got.

"I don't expect anyone to come in but if the club have targeted and identified a few and I think they might fit, I'll give my thumbs up, but it's not just my decision."

It is understood United do not see January as a good time to make key signings, and they are likely to have the same attitude to outgoings.

Asked how far away he sees United from Liverpool and Manchester City following their top-of-the-table clash on Thursday, Solskjaer replied: "Sixteen points, isn't it?

"I think I have a good squad. We need to work on our cohesion and the way we play. That we get used to playing that way again, with pace, with power, with counter-attacks. We utilise what we have in that respect. But we know we are many points behind the top three."

The way Solskjaer wants United to play is essentially the way the side he starred in played under Sir Alex Ferguson.

And the Norwegian would consider success at the end of the season to be not necessarily Champions League qualification or silverware, but if the two sides were being compared.

"Get to summer and people are talking about the way Manchester United are playing, the style we're playing, it reminds us of Sir Alex's team, it reminds us of the successful times," said Solskjaer. "It has to start with the way we play because you cannot control results. You can control how you approach the game and how you play."

Not that trophies are not on Solskjaer's radar and he will take his side into today's third-round FA Cup clash with Reading aiming to go all the way in the tournament.

Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Newcastle was the tightest match of Solskjaer's tenure so far, and the 45-year-old was pleased with the spirit he saw from his players.

"When you win you're happy," he said. "There will be tougher games coming up, we know that. I thought Newcastle was a great example of us not just getting the first goal and sitting back.

"We had to work for it and defend. At half-time, you think, 'We will learn about players in games like this.' We're expected to win but it doesn't always happen like you expect. I thought the response was fantastic second half."

United's next Premier League match against Tottenham on January 13 will be a truer test of their form. Ahead of that trip, Solskjaer will take his players to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp.

"We can get fitter and we have to do that through the training sessions here, but Dubai is a good chance because now is the first time we get a week of work together," he added.

"I still have pictures in my mind every January the gaffer (Ferguson) with the stopwatch - all of those runs. That stood us in good stead towards the end of the season. So, even though we've got plenty of games, we need to work."

Solskjaer has not yet held talks with the United hierarchy about his future at the club.

He added: "It's early doors. Of course when I came in they were open and honest that they're going to have a process looking for the next manager. But the more you're here, the more you enjoy it."

Already a hero to the fans as a player, Solskjaer has received a rapturous welcome back to the club, but he added: "I don't get distracted easily. I'm very focused.

"I know what my job is. My job is now Reading, then we go to Dubai to prepare for Tottenham. That's my job. It's not my job to rate myself and judge myself. That's up to someone else."

Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku will start but in-form midfield star Paul Pogba, who may well have been rested anyway, is unlikely to be available because he is still feeling the effects of Jonjo Shelvey's controversial challenge in the victory over Newcastle on Wednesday.

Belfast Telegraph


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