Friday 6 December 2019

A quick start is essential - Ole

United must hit ground running says Solskjaer

Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Manchester United need to hit the ground running if next season is to be a success.

A poor start to the 2018-19 campaign resulted in Jose Mourinho's men falling behind the pack, leading to the Old Trafford hierarchy eventually wielding the axe in mid-December.

Solskjaer then oversaw a remarkable upturn in fortunes when brought in as caretaker manager, but things went awry after his permanent appointment and United stumbled home in sixth.

The gap to relegated Cardiff in 18th was the same to champions Manchester City at the end of the season, and Solskjaer knows his side need to start as they mean to go on.

"Of course the transfer window will close when the league starts," the United boss said. "The start of the season is important, that's why we've worked them hard.


"I don't think many of the players have had a pre-season like this before in the last two or three years because there have been championships. It's their first pre-season for a little while.

"So, for us, in the first eight to 10 games you don't win anything but you can definitely lose the chance to win things. The first two months is vital for us."

Getting players in as soon as possible will also play an important role.

So far, Swansea flyer Daniel James and Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been the only additions, with the club keen to bring in a ball-playing centre-back and also a central midfielder.

Asked for a transfer update, Solskjaer said: "As I've said a few times, we're working on one or two cases but my objective here now is we've got to get ready for the games and training sessions.

"And if I've got to travel somewhere, I will, and you won't be able to ask me."

Solskjaer was speaking at Singapore's National Stadium, where United continue pre-season preparations against Inter Milan today in the International Champions Cup.

Romelu Lukaku, a key transfer target for the Serie A side, will miss his third straight friendly with an unspecified knock.

Addressing the issue, Solskjaer said: "He's not fit so he won't be available."

As to whether he expects Lukaku to be at the club next month, the Norwegian added: "I don't have any updates from the last time I spoke to you. So yeah, I do."

Lukaku watched training from the sidelines in Singapore, where Fred and Matteo Darmian trained with the group after being allowed to miss the Australia leg of the tour for personal reasons.

"Today we are going to have to see where they're at because they've been training back home," he said.

"Fred's been over in Brazil, had his wedding, got married so he has probably got loads of energy and I'm sure he is keen to join in."

Solskjaer expects David De Gea and Luke Shaw to be available to face Inter after illness and a hamstring issue respectively.

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