Solskjaer says he had to overhaul Man United after replacing Mourinho

‘I felt A LOT needed to be changed, not just tactics but players as well’: Rejuvenated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes a swipe at predecessor Jose Mourinho as he insists he HAD to overhaul Man United

  • Manchester United are due at Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday
  • It’ll see United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer face predecessor Jose Mourinho  
  • Ahead of Sunday, United go into the game in fifth – four points ahead of Spurs 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims ‘a lot needed to be changed’ when he took over from Jose Mourinho at Manchester United – and insists that he doesn’t like to complain about injured players like his predecessor.

Ahead of the scheduled visit to Tottenham on Sunday, if the game goes ahead due to the mass coronavirus outbreak – with the Premier League set for an emergency meeting at 10.30am today, Solskjaer refused to be drawn on comments by the Spurs boss in September that United are worse this season than they were under him last year.

‘I’d rather not speak about other teams and other manager’s teams,’ said the Norwegian.

But asked about the job he has done since taking over from Mourinho in December 2018, Solskjaer was more forthright as he heads to London in fifth place four points ahead of Mourinho’s side. The United boss claimed that he is the right man for the job because he is steeped in the culture at United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says ‘a lot needed to be changed’ when he became Man United manager

Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho (right) following his sacking in December 2018

‘I felt a lot needed to be changed,’ he said about the task he inherited. ‘We’ve signed four players and lost quite a few and promoted from within, lots of youngsters.

‘I don’t know how dramatic those changes have been. I don’t think it feels dramatic for the squad and the ones that were here. We needed certain pieces in the puzzle and they’ve worked.

‘It’s not just about tactics, it’s about the players. I’ve got great staff. I’ve got a philosophy I think is worthy of this club. I’m a red and I think I know what this club needs.

‘I believe we’re going places. I believe that we’re on the track that Man United need to be on. There are different cultures at different clubs and different ways of doing things, and I believe in the way we do things at Man United now.

‘I don’t necessarily believe in everything we’ve done before, but at the moment I believe in what we’re doing. I think I’m the right man but I’m not going to sit here and talk about that. The proof is in the pudding at the end of the day.’

Tottenham’s season has taken a turn for the worse with Mourinho’s side currently without a win in their last six games. United fans will recognise the noises coming from the Portuguese coach who has complained about not having any forwards in the absence of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Harry Maguire (left) is one of the new faces that Solskjaer has signed in his United revolution

Reminded that he is missing Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Solskjaer said: ‘Yeah, but I don’t talk about those two, do I? I want to focus on the ones who are fit and the ones I have got.

‘There’s a chance for new players to challenge for a place in the team. It’s part and parcel of this game that you do have injuries. We’ve managed well without some of our top players this season.’

United are three points off fourth-placed Chelsea as they seek a victory that would lift their hopes of claiming a Champions League spot and also seriously dent Tottenham’s ambitions.

‘We want to go there and dominate obviously and be the best possible version of Man United,’ added Solskjaer. ‘It’s a vital game in the challenge for the top four.

‘Maybe not everyone expected us to be in this top four challenge. I said before the City game that if we could get six points before the international break, that would be a great position to be in when we go into the last six weeks.’

The Red Devils have been without Paul Pogba (left) and Marcus Rashford for chunks this term

United will have Aaron Wan-Bissaka back from injury and hope Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard may also be fit, but Solskjaer thinks the game will come too soon for Pogba to make his comeback after almost three months out with an ankle injury.

‘Aaron will be ready definitely,’ said Solskjaer. ‘Jesse and Anthony, I’m not sure. They’ve not trained with week. Anthony, I don’t know because it was a bad knock on his knee. He’s got some swelling but I hope he’s going to be ready.

‘I wouldn’t think Paul is ready, no. He’s trained yesterday and he’ll train today but I don’t think he’s had enough training sessions with the team. I had a nice conversation with him the other day and I don’t think he’d be against it if I asked him.’

Asked about the prospect of Pogba playing alongside new signing Bruno Fernandes, he added: ‘We want the best players on the pitch together. It sounds exciting and I’m looking forward to it.’

Solskjaer is relishing the prospect of pairing Pogba up with Bruno Fernandes in midfield

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