Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can ‘picture how Man United’s team will look in two years’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward how he sees Manchester United developing over the coming years, even if he is not there to fulfil the vision.

Jose Mourinho lost his job in December as poor performances compounded background issues, with the Old Trafford giants surprisingly turning to a fan favourite for the remainder of the season.

Solskjaer is due to return to his job as Molde manager in the summer, but the 1999 treble hero is now bookmakers’ favourite for a job he is understandably keen to stay in.

Ed Woodward, centre, has a decision to make over over the next permanent Manchester United manager
Ed Woodward, centre, has a decision to make over over the next permanent Manchester United manager (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Every day I feel that I do help the club, do put a little bit of my stamp on it, yes,” the caretaker United boss said, having seen Phil Jones sign a new deal until at least 2023 on Friday.

“But sometimes decisions of players’ futures, they are not down to me either.

“It’s the players. Do they want to stay? Do they want to move on? Do they want something else?

“But we have a vision and a picture of how we want to look in a few years – and, of course, we have to think long term but also short term.

“I don’t know if it’s with me, but I always put my views across to Ed and the ones in the club.”

Woodward will certainly have been impressed by the confidence Solskjaer has instilled in the previously ailing side, with the caretaker boss liking how Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard have this week spoken up their title ambitions.

For now, though, the focus is on Saturday lunchtime’s trip to embattled Fulham and getting a win that can see them break into the top four.

“Of course, you take one step at a time and that’s one of the goals we’ve set us, that we move into that top four, and if we do so we want to stay there and improve on that,” the United caretaker boss said.

“Of course, it’s been fantastic the last two months now with the points we’ve got.

“So, consistency is now the key word, that we keep on improving, keep on winning games – but winning games in a better way than say the Leicester one.

“I felt we hung on. I felt it was good enough, but we shouldn’t just be happy with just good enough.

“We want to improve in games like this. Fulham now coming up is a character revealer, really.

“It reveals do we have the focus on what’s important, which is always the next game in football. Can we forget about PSG and all the games coming up?

  • Sat, Feb 9: Fulham (a) Premier League
  • Tue, Feb 12: PSG (h) Champions League
  • Mon, Feb 18: Chelsea (a) FA Cup
  • Sun, Feb 24: Liverpool (h) Premier League
  • Wed, Feb 27: C Palace (a) Premier League

“I know the focus around the place and in the media has been about the PSG game for a long time, Chelsea, Liverpool, but they’re not the games that will move us up the table. They’re the other games.”

Marcos Rojo has returned to training in the build-up to the Fulham match, but Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia miss out through injury.

Solskjaer has confirmed that the latter remains United’s club captain, but the Ecuador full-back has only appeared once since the Norwegian’s appointment.

“Well, hopefully he’ll recover because he’s been training hard – really hard – then he got a setback, so hopefully in a couple of weeks he’ll be back with us,” Solskjaer  said.

“He’s been a fantastic servant at the club, he’s captain for a reason and hopefully we can get him back on the pitch. But it was hard when he broke down because he would’ve travelled this weekend.”

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