Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed Manchester United’s title chances and has named his side’s biggest rivals for the Premier League this season.
United finished as runners-up last season and moved to strengthen their squad significantly this summer, completing the protracted £72.9m transfer of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, whilst the Red Devils are on the verge of finalising the signing of Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane after he flew to England on Thursday.
The high-profile additions have raised optimism that Solskjaer’s side can challenge this season and the Norwegian admits making a strong start is important to their chances.
“Pep [Guardiola] said ‘You can’t win the league in the first eight games but you can lose the chance to win it,’ and that’s what happened to us last season,” Solskjær said, as per the Guardian.
United have failed to provide a sustained title challenge since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, but Solskjaer admits his side are confident and heading into the 2021/22 campaign with optimism.
He expects Manchester City and Liverpool to once again be at the forefront of the title race, though believes United and Chelsea can make the forthcoming campaign ‘one of the strongest Premier League seasons’.
“I’d rather be an optimist and be wrong than a pessimist and be right,” he said. “Of course these boys can, with a maximum effort and maximum sacrifice.
“It feels like this season coming up is one of the strongest Premier League seasons. It’s been City and Liverpool fighting it out for a while but us and Chelsea have spent well and should look at ourselves as potential challengers.”
United’s high profile additions and a new contract for Solskjaer has seen suggestions that the Norwegian will be under pressure to finally win silverware this season, though he insists that there is ‘always pressure’ to win trophies as manager of Manchester United – the club having failed to lift a trophy since 48-year-old’s appointment at Old Trafford in 2018.
“There’s always pressure to win the league and to win trophies,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a 10-year contract; if you don’t do well, you go.
“You feel under pressure all the time. It’s not just about clinging on to your job, it’s about the responsibility in my hands. We’ve got millions of fans.”