Solskjaer says trophies more important than top four for Man United
Manchester, Jan 29 (AFP) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says trophies are more important for Manchester United than a top-four finish as he targets success in two cup competitions over the second half of the season. A run of eight successive victories to start his caretaker reign at the club has transformed a campaign that appeared to be heading nowhere under his predecessor Jose Mourinho.
United are still in the FA Cup and Champions League, while vastly improved league form now has the Reds looking at a potential best-case scenario of finishing third in the Premier League. Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino, still in the frame to become United's eventual long-term manager, has claimed a top-four finish and Champions League football is his club's primary target and not silverware.
But Solskjaer, who won many trophies at Old Trafford as a player under Alex Ferguson, has other aims. "I am not here to discuss what Pochettino says and what other managers say but we are about winning trophies, of course we are," said Solskjaer.
"And we can't win the league this year, we are still in the cup, we are going to try to win the FA Cup of course. I think every manager wants to win every game so I don't think that is the point he was making. "If you win trophies that's a fantastic day for everyone in the club, it's just the best time of your life, that day when you win because you never know when the next one is going to come."
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Despite Solskjaer's hunger for silverware, the realities of modern football mean the importance of qualifying for the Champions League cannot be underestimated. "That's not the dream though, to be top four," he said. "We're Man United, you should always aim to win the league. We can't do that this year but we've just got to look forward to that again because we have to get back to that.
"We've got the Champions League, we've got the FA Cup, we can't just say 'top four and that's it'. We've got to look at 'can we win something this year?' and I go into every single game as a Man United manager thinking we can win this game." Solskjaer is still looking for Brazilian midfielder Fred, a �52 million ($68 million) summer signing from Shakhtar Donetsk by Mourinho, to start justifying his price tag.
Fred has started just two games under Solskjaer, completing about an hour on both occasions, although his manager said he could see improvements. "I don't think it's my challenge to incorporate players, it's about the players being ready when they get the chance and Fred's been working really hard in training," he said.
"He's a good lad, same with Andreas (Pereira), he's working really hard, you've got Scott (McTominay). "And when they get the chance, because they will, we want to see improvement. We know there's a very, very good player there with Fred so hopefully he'll adjust to the English game because there's no doubt there's talent, absolutely no doubt." AFP PDS