Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stabilized Manchester United during a terribly turbulent time when he took over as interim manager back in December, but the Norwegian couldn’t will the Red Devils to a top-four finish after being named Jose Mourinho’s permanent replacement in March.
Now, with a summer full of uncertainty looming, Solskjaer is fully aware of the “great challenge” ahead of him: rebuilding a first-team squad that hasn’t challenged for the Premier League title since winning it in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s final season. The year was 2013.
To make a tall task even taller, Solskjaer and chief executive will have to maneuver through the transfer market without the benefit of Champions League revenue after Man United were eliminated from top-four contention upon throwing away an early lead and drawing already-relegated Huddersfield Town on Sunday — quotes from the BBC:
“We are where we are for a reason. Over a long season we haven’t been good enough to challenge for the Champions League places. It’s not come as a surprise but we hoped to show a better performance today.”
“We haven’t taken enough points, won enough games, scored enough goals — its always difficult when you lose your manager halfway through the season. It’s caught up with us a little bit.
“It shows us where we are. We’re not living in fantasy land, thinking we can catch the top two. We’re far away, but we shouldn’t be speaking about being far off the top-four at Manchester United.
“We’re many levels [behind] at the moment, that’s the size of the challenge, it’s a great challenge for us but I’m sure we’ll make it.”
Defender Ashley Young, who’s won four major trophies since joining the club in 2011, longs for the days of competing for titles and winning trophies.
“I’m not sure what it is, its a number of things. It’s a disappointment now we can’t make the top-four. We must go away and be ready to go again.
“We haven’t been playing the way we should, that’s why we are where we are in the league table. It’s a massive blow for a club like Manchester United. It’s not what we want to be talking about, fighting for top-four, we want trophies and titles.
“It’s been tough, we haven’t been fighting for titles and it’s a massive disappointment. We must come back next season ready to win.”