Under-fire Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his team are ‘getting better and better’ despite being dumped out of the Champions League after needing just one point from their remaining two group games
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists his Manchester United team are ‘getting better and better’ despite suffering a shock exit from the Champions League on Tuesday.
The pressure is mounting on the United boss after his team needed just a point to advance into the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition but they instead fell to two disappointing defeats at the hands of PSG and RB Leipzig.
United’s domestic form, though, has improved since their woeful loss at home by Arsenal in November, with the Red Devils winning their last four Premier League games on the bounce.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels his team are improving despite their shock Champions League exit
Now in the Europa League and with their Champions League exit behind them, Solskjaer believes fans should be happy with the team’s direction ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.
‘I feel we’re getting better and better and looking more like a Man United team that I want with fast attackers, with dynamism,’ he said in his Friday press conference.
‘We’ve got good players and individual quality that can create magic out of nothing – that’s always been the way at Man United.
‘But we can see more of the penetration and consistency everyone says we don’t have. We’ve won last four in the league which has become a good run and hopefully that continues.’
United were dumped out of Europe’s elite club competition on Tuesday evening in Leipzig
Despite the Champions League disappointment Solskjaer pointed to this as part of United’s improvement under him.
‘It’s been a step up from last season when we played in the Europa League,’ he said. ‘Those six [group] games have been great in testing levels because we played against two top teams, one who were finalists [Paris Saint-Germain] and one semi-finalist [Leipzig] last year.
‘We’ve learnt any small mistake will get punished; we were very close to going through in a very good group.
‘That shows me a team moving forward from barely beating Rochdale [last year on penalties in the Carabao Cup], and we struggled to beat Astana and Partizan [in the Europa League] convincingly.
‘We still have a little bit of a way to go of course to compete and go and win the Champions League because that’s our aim: to win trophies, be contenders.’
Solskjaer has also backed David de Gea (pictured) to overcome criticism from others
Solskjaer also insists that he still has faith in David de Gea and believes he remains one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
He said: ‘I think David is a top goalkeeper and rightly so he is on lists of the best. For me he has handled criticism before and handled setbacks before.
‘He is a man that we really rely on. Hopefully he is not affected by the criticism and I don’t think he will be. Every goal that a goalkeeper ever concedes, you are disappointed with.’