Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen Liverpooland Manchester City move streets aheadof Manchester United, giving him achallenge for next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits resurgent Manchester United must “step it up even more” next season if they hope to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City.
United are battling for third place and Champions League qualification heading into their final Premier League game of the season at Leicester City on Sunday.
Although finishing third would be a positive outcome given it appeared a distant prospect earlier this year, United’s standards have generally been set much higher during the Premier League era.
Given it is arch-rivals Liverpool and neighbours City who have been sweeping all before them, any United celebrations at the end of this campaign are bound to be on the quiet side.
A 13-match unbeaten run in the top flight has taken United to the precipice of a Champions League return next season, but Solskjaer sounded a wary note. His side sit a hefty 33 points behind Liverpool after 37 games and 15 adrift of City.
“We’ve not ended up anywhere yet, so it’s one more game to show we’ve become a better team,” he said. “If we get a result against Leicester, I think people would say this journey has been a good one.
“But then again, this is not the end of the journey. If you get there, it’s not like ‘breathe and relax’. It’s ‘go again, go to the next one’.
“We know that there are two teams too far ahead of us, so we have to step it up even more.”
United’s recent league form has suggested they could be plausible challengers in 2020-21, but Solskjaer’s former Red Devils team-mate Gary Neville has claimed they will need to recruit well, signing three or four top players, just to be in the hunt for a top-three finish next term.
Asked about Neville’s comments, Solskjaer told a news conference: “There’s no point now discussing what we need for next season. We need to just focus on the game against Leicester.”
As for whether third place was good enough for a club of United’s stature, Solskjaer was non-committal, indicating he would rather enter that debate after his team wrap up their Premier League and Europa League campaigns.
“Let’s get this game out the way and get the third position and continue the growth and the journey this team’s on,” he said.
“Of course we’ve had some hard times this season, some setbacks, but we’ve shown and we’ve proven this is a team going places.
“And if we can finish this season with a trophy in Europe and third position, we can discuss that then.”