Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed his disappointment at Manchester United’s FA Cup exit at the weekend, while insisting the club will remain attractive even if they ultimately miss out on Champions League football.
The Red Devils had enjoyed a 19 game unbeaten run going into Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea, a side that they had already beaten three times this season.
Solskjaer’s side have largely played on the front foot since the Premier League‘s restart, but having switched to a 3-5-2 system, it appeared as though they were looking to hit the west London outfit on the break, before being undone by a pair of dreadful goalkeeping errors by David de Gea as part of an underwhelming all-round performance.
Manchester United have just two games remaining in the league, starting with a home game against West Ham on Wednesday night, and speaking ahead of the match, Solskjaer called for ‘focus’ following the recent setback.
“When you lose a game you’re hurt and disappointed,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference. “You’ve just got to focus on the next thing.
“A defeat isn’t the end of the world – it was the end of the FA Cup dream and the final, but now it’s business as usual and onto the next game.
“We’ve had so many setbacks as a club before. We’ve lost big games before and we’ve turned that around and that’s what we need to do now.”
A place in next seasons Champions League is firmly in United’s grasp following Leicester’s 3-0 loss to Spurs, the Old Trafford outfit only outside the top four by virtue of goals scored, the fixture against West Ham being their game in hand.
If Solskjaer’s side remain unbeaten across their final two games – the second of which is against fourth-placed Leicester – they will return to the Champions League following a one-year absence. However, even if they miss out, Solskjaer thinks the 20 time league winners remain an ‘attractive enough’ proposition for potential signings, United widely reported to be keen on signing Jadon Sancho for what is likely to be a British transfer record.
“You want to be part of the biggest tournaments; play the biggest teams,” Solskjaer said. “That is an attraction in itself, but Man United is attractive enough.
“I think everyone can see we’re on a journey towards something better. I think so, anyway. It’s in our own hands. I don’t want to talk about how much it will mean financially, or to attract people. We just have to focus on these next two games and we’re there.”
Aside from their final league position, United have a second chance to compete for a place in next season’s Champions League through next month’s Europa League mini-tournament in Germany, the Red Devils currently 5-0 up in their last 16 tie against LASK.