Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed how he had to ‘change the culture’ following his arrival at Manchester United.
United return to action this evening with a trip to face Tottenham and former manager Jose Mourinho, the man Solskjaer replaced as the club’s manager in December 2018.
The Norwegian is currently in his first full season at the club who currently sit fifth in the Premier League, three points adrift of the Champions League places and also into the latter stages of both the FA Cup and Europa League.
Solskjaer admits he has been pleased with the ‘development’ and progress of his young Manchester United side this season, and has revealed how he felt he had to change the culture of the club following his appointment at Old Trafford.
“I’ve been very pleased with the development of the players that were here,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “The signings we made have proven to be good acquisitions and the club – we took a step back and said we need to change the culture, change a few things – and I’ve been able to make decisions with their backing.
“For me, the group with the coaches is a great environment to work in. It’s a great feeling when you’re always looking forward to coming in and seeing everyone, which is one of the first steps we made. We needed to create an environment which is both challenging but also developing for the players.
“Obviously now we’re coming to a crucial period for this team as well. Nine games left. It’s a mini-season. But we have to catch up lost ground because of the period we lost too many points just after the start.
“So that is the challenge for us. The boys will have to perform now.”
United’s hopes of catching fourth-placed Chelsea have been boosted by the returns from injury of both Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, the latter having made just eight appearances in all competitions this season due to a persistent ankle problem.
Solskjaer admits it has been a ‘difficult season’ for the France international, but says Pogba is fit and ‘raring to go’ ahead of tonight’s trip to north London.
“Paul has had a difficult season. But he’s been excited, he’s raring to go,” said Solskjaer. “He’s worked hard, he’s been in a good mood and he’s ready to step up now.
“We’ve seen glimpses in the training sessions and in the [friendly] game against West Brom [how he might combine with Fernandes] but good players can always play together.
“Paul’s main thing now is to get his rhythm back, get proper match fit. I don’t think anyone can expect Paul and Marcus to be flying straight away. We have to accept they might take a few games before they’re really where they were.
“But I’m patient with that, getting game time to make sure he’s fit and back to 100 per cent.”