Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes managing Manchester United demands more mental strength than at any other club and insists he is up to the challenge.
The Norwegian hopes to avert United losing three consecutive games for the first time since April in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tranmere Rovers. After defeats by Liverpool and Burnley Solskjær is facing renewed questions regarding his job. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were convinced they would be granted time to turn around United’s fortunes but were sacked.
Solskjær was asked why he thinks he will be different. “When you start on something, you stick to that plan, for me anyway,” he said. “I’m not going to change six or nine or 10 months into the job and start believing in a different way.
“I’m going to stick to what I’ve been entrusted to do by the club [and] hopefully that will be good enough and they can see what we’re doing is right. We know how football is nowadays [being knee-jerk]. But all my conversations with the club have been positive.
“We can’t react to all the noise outside; of course there’s always going to be criticism. You’ve got to take the criticism at this club. You’ve got to be stronger mentally probably than anywhere else in the world. I feel I am, the club is strong, the staff I’ve got with me are very strong mentally so we’re sticking to what we believe in and I’ve got full faith in what we’re doing.”
Pep Guardiola has spent £500m-plus in his four years at Manchester City. It was put to Solskjær that United cannot allow him to do the same.
“We do have a way of doing things,” he said. “You can see other teams have done well [their way]. Jürgen [Klopp] spent four years building his [Liverpool] team and they’re doing well. It’s not going to be a quick fix. It’s not going to be eight players in or 10 players in in one transfer window. We’ve had one proper transfer window, in the summer, because the Januarys are difficult, but we are still trying to do something now.
“Our fans know what we have started on and I’ve been trusted to do that job by the club and for me that rebuild doesn’t go one way all the time, [as in] we’re doing great, we’re doing great.
“The foundation has to be laid and the culture properly set and with this group I feel I have a good core of players that believe in themselves and what we’re doing. I trust them to be good lads carrying us forward, with some signings of course and players coming back from injuries.
“You don’t just take the roof off when you need to knock your house down. You need to put the foundations in [first]. You don’t just start with the roof. We’ve had a couple of rainy days [defeats] and we wish that roof was on but we can’t hide.”
Marcus Rashford tweeted recently that despite his long-term back injury he will be involved in as many team meetings as possible. Paul Pogba is also unavailable because an ankle problem and Solskjær was asked whether he would like the midfielder do the same. “We all want this to go well and all we’ve all got different ways of showing how much we care,” he said.
Solskjær said the mood was upbeat in the club despite Wednesday’s dismal display against Burnley. “On the training ground the mood’s still good,” he said.
Victor Lindelöf has recovered from illness and is available for Tranmere.