Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he is ‘excited’ by his Manchester United squad and has discussed the potential of a Premier League title challenge this season.
United head into the new season amid huge optimism following a strong summer of recruitment, securing the long-awaited signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, in addition to agreeing a deal with Real Madrid for Raphael Varane.
The new signings have increased hopes that the Red Devils can end a four-season barren run without silverware, with Solskjaer keen to bounce back from the ‘horrible feeling’ of losing last season’s Europa League final to Villarreal.
“It was disappointing,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “It was a game we should have won; there was one shot against us on target, so it wasn’t like we were under the cosh. But it doesn’t matter, the result was what it was.
“Waking up the next morning was a horrible feeling, you don’t want that feeling again, you don’t want to lose finals or big games. I’m made that way anyway, I’m more determined to do well.
“Sometimes having those defeats in finals makes you come back with extra motivation because you remember that feeling and don’t want that to happen again. Sometimes when you win you might just rest on your laurels and think ‘it’s done, we’re great players’.
“We know we’re a good team, but we know we have a little bit to go to be where we want to be and win trophies.”
United have not been crowned champions since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, but Solskjaer says he is ‘excited’ by the options now available to him this season.
However, he has warned his players that it will take ‘sacrifice’ and ‘blood, sweat and tears’ to challenge for the title during the 2021/22 campaign.
“I’m excited by the squad,” he added. “I don’t think anything is beyond these boys. It’s just how we fare between now and the end of the season.
“How much sacrifice, how much discipline, how much team camaraderie, how much consistency, how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears – all these qualities and cliches.
“If you want to be the best you have to live like the best, you have to work as the best and perform every three days. It’s going to be tough, but it is possible, definitely.”
Solskjaer believes his side have shown progress throughout his reign so far despite a lack of tangible success, and is hopeful the Red Devils can once again become ‘used to winning’ in what he described as the most ‘competitive league in the world’.
“I’ve seen progress; progress in the coaching staff, playing staff, in the club and how we run things, but we haven’t won anything yet,” he continued.
“That is what we are here for at Manchester United. I’m used to winning. When I was here as a player, we finished third once and was either first or second every other year.
“We know we are in the most intense and competitive league in the world, and we have to be at the top of our games from game one to 38 to have a chance of winning the Premier League.”