Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stressed the importance of the transfer window by insisting Manchester United can’t take a top-six place for granted – let alone chase leading duo Manchester City and Liverpool at the top.
United face Huddersfield on Sunday (3pm SA time) after a run of two wins in 10 games that leaves them a remarkable 27 points behind Pep Guardiola’s team across Manchester.
Solskjaer has urged his players to show they want a long-term future at Old Trafford in their final two games this season.
He believes United’s owners, the Glazer family, will give him time to turn things around despite firing three managers in the last five years – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
While the Norwegian’s warning to United’s hierarchy over transfers is more sugar-coated than a Mourinho tantrum, his assessment of where the club stands is still stark.
“You don’t suddenly catch (up) 27 points in one season, you’ve got to take it gradually,” said the United boss.
“We have to make sure that we are getting closer and moving that way up the table, and not looking over our shoulders because there are big clubs, good clubs, wanting to chase that top six.
“You’ve got Leicester, Everton, Watford, probably Newcastle.
“You have got clubs that want to chase us so we have to make sure we’re the ones chasing above. We know where we’re at, and it’s not good enough.”
Though Solskjaer doesn’t want a revolving door at United, he thinks he needs at least four signings, with a world-class winger one of his leading priorities.
Club captain Antonio Valencia is leaving, with Ander Herrera expected to join PSG on a free.
Solskjaer will have to increase his recruitment plans if one or more of Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, David de Gea, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba also leave.
United’s draw against Chelsea last Sunday has made it unlikely they will qualify for the Champions League, though remaining games against Huddersfield and Cardiff give them a chance if others slip.
There should be no lack of incentive though, with Solskjaer wanting to see a desire from players to be part of the club’s future.
He added: “You give people a chance, but sometimes you’ve got to be ruthless and say: ‘Sorry, but you had your chance’. I’m not afraid to do that.
“If you show me it’s your dream to be at club, I don’t think I’ll be showing them the door, because they’re talented enough. You have to perform at Manchester United, and you’ve really got to work towards that dream.
“I’ve got regular meetings with Ed Woodward, I’ve seen Joel Glazer and the owners.
“They are very realistic on where we are, what we want to get to and how long that will take.
“Hopefully we can produce better performances next season, Manchester City and Liverpool can produce worse and we will get closer.”
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