Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the growth he has seen in his developing squad over the past two years, saying players have rediscovered the ‘privilege’ it means to be a part of the club.
On more than one occasion in the dark years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United players have appeared to lack passion for the club. But the improved competition for places and the arrival of positive, more motivated individuals transformed the approach of the team as a whole.
United now find themselves three points off the top of the table, although still not reaching their full potential, and will move to Liverpool’s level if they beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford on New Years Day – the Merseysiders not replaying until January 4.
Bruno Fernandes summed up the change, but figures like Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles and even Harry Maguire, who was one of Solskjaer’s first major signings in 2019, have made major differences.
“First, they are two years older than when I arrived. Second, the strong personalities that we brought in, they really had a good influence, ”said Solskjaer as quoted by Sky Sports.
“I think we have competition for places, which means you can’t go around and think you can go wrong being on this team. You only deserve to be part of a team you contribute to. ”
Any United player who does not perform well in games or training will not be rewarded with playing time and no one is guaranteed a place. Even the signing of club record £ 89million Paul Pogba had to settle for a place on the bench and prove he deserved to start.
“I think everyone just realized that we have the privilege of being a part of Man Utd – such a fantastic club and a fantastic history. When you are here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe you will have some fantastic times, ”Solskjaer explained.
“And you have winners like Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic, who don’t play every game, but they are so influential in the preparation of games, and even during games when they are not playing.”
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