Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United are “going places” having made widespread changes since replacing Jose Mourinho.
In the unlikely event that Premier Leagues matches go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, the in-form Reds will head to Tottenham on Sunday in an important clash in the race for the top four.
United would travel to north London buoyed by Thursday’s thumping 5-0 Europa League win at LASK at the near empty Linzer Stadion, with the last-16 first leg triumph extending their unbeaten run to 11 matches in all competitions.
1â£1â£ games unbeaten got us feeling like: pic.twitter.com/IZ2nAICOyq— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 12, 2020
That equals the undefeated best stretch Solskjaer embarked on after succeeding Mourinho in December 2018 – a time when the club were on their haunches, leading to a variety of personnel changes and a cultural reboot at Old Trafford.
“I felt a lot needed to be changed,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve signed four players (permanently) and lost quite a few and promoted from within, lots of youngsters.
“I don’t know how dramatic those changes have been. I don’t think it feels dramatic for the squad and the ones that were here. We needed certain pieces in the puzzle, and they’ve worked.
“I believe that we’re going places. I believe that we’re on the track that Man United need to be on.
“There are different cultures at different clubs and different ways of doing things and belief in the way we do things at Man United now.
I believe that we're going places.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“I don’t necessarily believe in everything we’ve done before but at the moment I believe in what we’re doing.
“I think I’m the right man but I’m not going to sit here and talk about that. The proof is in the pudding at the end of the day.”
United certainly appear to be on the up after a topsy turvy first half of a campaign, which started with Mourinho saying United were “worse than last season” in his role as a pundit.
Reminded of that comment in September and asked if the same could be said about Tottenham, Solskjaer said with a smile: “I’d rather not speak about other teams and other manager’s teams.”
Solskjaer did, though, appear to aim a dig at his predecessor when Spurs’ injury issues were brought up – something the United boss knows all about having seen key men like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford miss large chunks of the campaign.
“Yeah, but I don’t talk about those two, do I? I want to focus on the ones who are fit and the ones I have got,” the Norwegian said.
“There’s a chance for new players to challenge for a place in the team. It’s part and parcel of this game that you do have injuries.
“We’ve managed well without some of our top players this season.”
Pogba, the club’s record signing, has managed just eight appearances this season due to an ankle issue, last playing for the club on Boxing Day.
Solskjaer expects the France international to still be at Old Trafford next season as speculation continues to swirl about his future and there is a slim chance of the midfielder facing old foe Mourinho on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t think Paul is ready, no,” Solskjaer said on Thursday evening. “He’s trained today and he’ll train tomorrow but I don’t think he’s had enough training sessions with the team.
“I had a nice conversation with him the other day and I don’t think he’d be against it if I asked him.”
Put to Solskjaer that Pogba and January signing Bruno Fernandes playing together is a tantalising prospect, he said: “We want the best players on the pitch together. It sounds exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
It would appear unlikely that Pogba features at Spurs, with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard also doubts to feature.
“Aaron (Wan-Bissaka) will be ready definitely,” Solskjaer said.
“Jesse and Anthony, I’m not sure. They’ve not trained this week.
“Anthony, I don’t know because it was a bad knock on his knee. He’s got some swelling, but I hope he’s going to be ready.”