Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Man United’s plans for next season are ‘up in the air’ with pre-season squeezed and transfer strategy hinging on whether they qualify for the Champions League
- Three-month break because of Covid-19 will make planning more difficult
- With Europa League finals to come, United face prospect of tight pre-season
- They are far from assured a place in next season’s Champions League
- And this is making transfer strategy tricky for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- United resume their push for the top four against Southampton on Monday
Manchester United‘s plans for next season and transfer strategy are ‘up in the air’ due to the uncertainty over how the current campaign will finish, admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United are pushing for Champions League qualification, a place in the FA Cup final and are also through to the latter stages of the Europa League in a season that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Europa League will now be played as a mini-tournament in Germany with the final on August 21, meaning the gap between this season and next could be a matter of weeks.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted it is difficult to forward plan for the 2020-21 season
The unprecedented situation has already put paid to the usual summer tour and pre-season, and Solskjaer admitted that it has made forward planning difficult.
‘There’s quite a lot of planning going on,’ he said. ‘When do we start the league that is obviously determined by how far we go in Europe, you can’t really decide on the training programme.
‘There are so many small decisions, and transfers are out of our hands as well. If the team is going well, what do we need? What don’t we need?
‘That’s the way we’re working and you’ve got to plan for different scenarios – uncertainty of dates, how much holiday, what will next season look like? It’s a little bit up in the air.
United are in excellent form, unbeaten in 17 games after their 3-0 victory over Aston Villa
‘I don’t think it’s like dramatic decisions. I don’t think the club would panic or go crazy with plans that we’ve already talked about for years to come.
‘You do have to have a long-term plan but short-term some decisions will be easier to make if you get in the Champions League.’
Solskjaer is happy with how United’s season has developed after some early setbacks. They are playing some of the best attacking football since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, scoring 46 goals and conceding only six in an unbeaten run spanning 17 games.
‘We had an up and down season,’ said Solskjaer. ‘A great win against Chelsea (on the opening weekend) then we got a setback and the players have stuck to the task in hard times.
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‘They believed in the coaches and what we’re trying to do and trusted us when results haven’t gone great.
‘Now it’s time to keep their feet on the ground and keep working, don’t believe in all the hype and praise, that’s not their job. The same as don’t believe in all criticism when you don’t do well.
‘It’s about winning, of course it is, but it’s also about our fans and the way we approach the game. You play with pace, power, with no fear, you take risks and have players who have got quality. That’s just the DNA of the football club.
‘I’m happy when you don’t concede but it’s always been built on a strong foundation – (Gary) Pallister and (Steve) Bruce, (Jaap) Stam and (Ronny) Johnsen, (Roy) Keane and (Bryan) Robson laid down foundations for forwards to show their skills. We just need to take it one game at a time. The end is not too far away so goal is getting closer.’