Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must have tired arms after stirring things up before the Manchester Derby…
Ahead of Man United’s trip to Man City on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Solskjaer was asked of United are still a bigger club than City.
“Yeah,” was his quickfire response and he then went on to explain a little bit about how the rivalry has developed since his playing days at United.
“At least we play every year now! It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself,” Solskjaer said. “But it’s changed in a way. Of course Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. I think football has changed quite a lot. I think it allowed a few more proper tackles – with every little angle, everything being scrutinised now, it’s more of a technical, tactical game than physical and mental one. But, still, a derby should be played as a derby. We don’t play basketball, so we’re ready for that if that happens.”
He was then asked if United are fighting a losing battled against Pep Guardiola‘s City due to their huge wealth
Safe to say United’s manager didn’t subscribe to that.
“Don’t agree,” Solskjaer said. “What are you going to do? Are you going to give up and not challenge them? That’s what we’ve got to get back to.”
City have won back-to-back Premier League titles and four in the last eight seasons, and United’s league title was won in 2013 in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s final season in management.
The argument over which club is “bigger” is one people will debate until the end of time but in terms of many measurable factors, it’s actually hard to argue against Solskjaer on this one.
Are Man City the more successful club in the last decade? Yes, clearly they are.
But if you’re talking about worldwide fanbase, revenue figures and interest levels, it is clearly Man United are still way ahead. City are closing the gap, and their titles, superstar players and Guardiola all contribute to that, but it will take decades for them to become an influential club on a global basis.
The “Noisy Neighbors” will actually enjoy United snapping back at suggestions they are no longer the bigger club, as it was even a discussion until the Abu Dhabo ownership group arrived in 2008. Now it is becoming more of a legitimate debate, even if United still have the edge in terms of the size of their reach and popularity. For now.
Pep, let Man United and Solskjaer have this one…