Solskjaer praises personality, resilience: ‘We’ve improved massively’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the progress his Manchester United side has made, as they beat Manchester City in the derby to breathe new life into the business end of their season.

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Solskjaer’s side put in a perfect away day display to end City’s incredible run of 21 wins on the spin in all competitions, as they sit in second place in the Premier League (11 points behind leaders City) and are in the last 16 of the Europa League and quarterfinal of the FA Cup.

Earlier this week United’s executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, praised the progress that Solskjaer is making with the team, and ProSoccerTalk asked the Norwegian coach about the marathon 2020-21 season and what he thinks of the position his side are in ahead of the final few months.

“It is a marathon. It’s been a relentless season, a relentless year for everyone, a challenging year for everyone but we’re lucky enough that we can play football,” Solskjaer said. “We cannot prioritize one game in front of the other. We just have to count the numbers, see who’s fit, who’s not fit for Thursday and go again. I feel we’re a better team now that what we were 12, 16, 18 months ago. We’ve improved massively and we’re more robust, resilient, and there’s more personality in the team. That’s what I like.”

What is a ‘good season’ for Solskjaer and Manchester United?

This is a tough one to tackle.

United spend big, because they’re Manchester United, but there is now a clearer identity to this team and the signings of Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka has made them a better team. No doubt.

There is also the sense that Luke Shaw, Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Dean Henderson will all be stars of the future, as Solskjaer has been given time to develop the young talent at the club and plenty of promising youngsters are waiting in the wings.

Solskjaer has United back to being devastating on the counter and few teams can live with them, especially if they score early. That forces teams, like Man City, to push high in search of an equalizer. United should play to that strength more often as they aim to end their topsy-turvy season on a high.

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Winning at City will give Solskjaer’s boys a big boost ahead of a Europa League last 16 clash against AC Milan and their FA Cup quarterfinal against Leicester City.

If United finish second in the Premier League and win one of the Europa League or FA Cup, then that is a good season and progress has been made.

There are still many things for Solskjaer to sort out on the pitch, and for Woodward off it with a director of football, but you can’t deny that progress has been made over the last 12 months.