Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer: Manchester United ‘should have scored many more goals’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preferred to focus on the day-to-day before his two biggest rivals prepared to duke it out at the upper reaches of the Premier League table.

Manchester United dominated Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday at Old Trafford, the 3-1 score line not at all indicative of the Red Devils home performance.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 3-1 Brighton ]

Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan was credited with nine saves and United missed the frame on numerous occasions, comfortably rising up the table with all three points against a Brighton side who had been quite good.

“We should have scored many more goals,” Solskjaer said. “It was an excellent performance from the lads, when you see them going forward it is a joy to watch. Anthony Martial did not get a goal but he was outstanding. Brandon Williams was excellent too, he has had some good games already and he seems he wants to be out there and enjoy himself.”

United is now a point back of fifth but will finish the weekend at least nine points off the Top Four. Solskjaer isn’t looking at the numbers yet (Well, he most certainly is, but he’s not super concerned).

“The table does not really matter at the moment. We need to keep improving and keep winning games and see where it takes us.”

United’s next three PL fixtures are Sheffield United, Aston Villa, and Spurs. Then it’s the Manchester Derby on Dec. 7.

Solskjaer on Man United’s plan for January transfer window

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that Manchester United plan to do a bit of business in January.

If possible.

[ MORE: United’s new reality

United’s manager hinted at bringing in new players in January that after they lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday, and ahead of their UEFA Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade he was asked about his plans to add to his squad in the next transfer window.

“The priority is to get players fit and to get through to the next round,” Solskjaer said. “In January it might be none, it might be one, it might be two but you can’t get many good deals in January. The big ones tend to happen in the summer.”

Solskjaer needs a creative force in central midfield and with Paul Pogba expected to return in early December, that is a obviously the best solution to fill that need.

However, with United pushing hard to sign Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon this summer perhaps they will go back in for the Portuguese playmaker who adds that cutting edge and clinical nature in the final third.

United spent $180 million this summer on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James. All three players start each game and have improved this team but United need further help in the attacking department with a true No.10 one of the final pieces of the jigsaw.

As Solskjaer said, January isn’t usually the time to spend big but with United now 10 points off the top four in the Premier League it looks like they may have to make the most of the next window to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

You get the sense Solskjaer is desperate to add at least one more attacking talent in January and if United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is really serious about backing his manager, he should dip into the market from Jan. 1-31.

Man United’s new reality arrives

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BOURNEMOUTH — By the end of this weekend Manchester United could be 10 points off the top four following the first 11 games of the Premier League season.

They’ve now lost to Bournemouth, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Crystal Palace this season.

This is their new reality. It is ugly.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried his best to put on a brave face after their 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday, but he couldn’t put much gloss on United’s chances of finishing in the top four after another disappointing setback.

“It’s a test of character when you come down to places like this. 1-0 down at half time. I though the response second half, at least we went for it, we didn’t stop trying. But it was the lack of quality that couldn’t get us a point or three,” Solskajer said, exhaling. “Two more games before the international break. A chance ton Thursday to quality in Europe and then Brighton at home. We need a response. Games like this you need to win if you want to challenge for the top four. Today we are disappointed.”

The Red Devils started well as Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial caused havoc on the break with their pace and positivity.

But the more United had the ball, the more they struggled to create chances as Bournemouth sat back, soaked up the pressure and their stubborn defense stifled a lackluster United.

Solskjaer lamented United’s lack of creativity in the final third and even though he admitted he could’ve freshened up his squad, when asked if they need new attacking talent in January here’s what United’s manager said.

“To win games you need to score goals. I’m sure Anthony and Marcus are going to get their share of goals. Anthony is going to improve,” Solskjaer said. “We need more creativity but we’ve got loads of players here in the squad who could create more. It is not just looking outside. We have to deal with what we have.”

What United have is a squad which will struggle to get anywhere near the top four this season.

That is their new reality.

United will try to deny it and they will point to youngsters being given opportunities in order to build a clearer identity and brighter future. But right here, right now they are nothing more than a team which can finish in the top six, at best.

There will be better times ahead and United’s inconsistency is the hallmark of a team rebuilding. Solskjaer knows results must get better but in truth, this is where United are at.

Losing to midtable teams is their new reality and this long rebuilding process is nowhere near the end game. It has only just begun and the growing pains are plentiful.

Solskjaer questions his lineup decision after disappointing loss

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he might’ve misread the room when he composed his lineup card for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

[ MORE: 3 things from JPW at the Vitality ]

“We put some energy on (as subs),” Solskjaer said after the loss. “Maybe I should’ve started a couple others, who knows? Wednesday night, Saturday early kickoff that might’ve had an affect but I thought we had a good start.”

Solskjaer credited Bournemouth and goal scorer Joshua King for his juggling, side-volley winner, but admitted that United failed to deliver a result in a match where one was expected given their reputation and ambition.

“It’s one of them but if you want to be challenging for Top Four and moving up the table, you have to win games like this,” he said. “Then again, Bournemouth will say the same. Disappointing.”

The Red Devils look to keep their Europa League sheet clean for a fourth-successive match on Thursday versus Partizan Belgrade before staying at Old Trafford to meet Brighton in Premier League play.

“We had a good period going into the game and now we need to react and I’m sure we will,” Solskjaer said.

Solskjaer says ‘camaraderie, attitude’ on the up at Man Utd

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that the mood around Manchester United’s first-team squad is now “miles better” than it was in previous weeks and months, due in large part to having been through tough times as a unit and come through to the other side.

[ MORE: Liverpool fixture congestion presents serious conundrum ]

Most notably, it’s Anthony Martial whose mood is most notably improved, and Solskjaer believes that is mostly down to the 23-year-old Frenchman having been healthy and played a run of games in recent weeks. The fact he’s been deployed as a no. 9, and scored goals while doing so, is a fair indicator, according to the Man United manager — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t think he has had a long run of games as a no. 9 since he played many years ago [here] as a boy. Now he is maturing. You have to be obsessed with scoring goals as a no. 9 and he is looking more and more like a player who wants to score goals and not just show his tricks.

“For me, he has matured a lot in his behavior on the training ground as well. I believe we will see the best of him in the next few years. He looks happier and seems happy. He is an infectious boy — his smile and sense of humor. You can see he is happy here and that rubs off on everyone and it’s great to see.”

[ MORE: Erling Braut Haaland drawing scouts from more than 20 clubs ]

It’s not just Martial whose mood has swung, either. Solskjaer insists everyone at the club is enjoying themselves at the moment. Whether that is the product or the catalyst of the Red Devils’ recent resurgence (three straight wins across three different competitions) is tough to say. It’s easy to see the good times rolling on once they get stuck inside that cycle happiness.

“The whole mood — it’s miles better on the training ground. They encourage each other. It’s nice to be a coach and a manager when you see them come out and wanting to do extras, so we are improving.

“The group is more ready for tougher times and better times. It’s a miles better group that we have now. The camaraderie, the attitude of the boys, the selflessness, the humility. We are getting closer to what we want to see every day — that culture, the performance in training, the way they prepare for games. We’ve travelled together and seen each other a lot [and] they’ve been disciplined.”

Seventh-place Manchester United will visit ninth-place Bournemouth the first game of the Premier League weekend on Saturday (8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).