Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United finally have a team to challenge for trophies on all fronts this season.
This summer has seen the big-money arrivals of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo bring renewed optimism that the club can end a trophy drought that has lasted more than four years.
And as Manchester United prepare for their first Champions League game of the season against Swiss side Young Boys, the Manchester United boss insists this summer’s recruiting was part of a long-term strategy. term that he originally described when he took the job just under three years ago. .
“We’ve had enough disappointments for sure, and a few great moments too,” he said. “But this team has grown and matured over the past few seasons.
“That was always the plan (when I arrived), we said that in three years we would have a team with an experience and a quality that could challenge.
“With players like David (De Gea), Harry Maguire, who has been here for a few years, you get that backbone in the squad with experience and quality. With Raphael (Varane) and Cristiano (Ronaldo) that happen, they add to that.
“It’s not the last track, you can never say it’s the last track, but it’s something you have to buy unless you’ve already won it yourself.”
A return to competing for the top prizes could also help persuade Paul Pogba, now in the final year of his contract but returning to playing some of his best football, to re-engage at a club he previously seemed certain of. leave.
“It’s up to us to get results and prove to ourselves that we can win trophies,” Solskjaer said of Pogba.
“I think everyone who signs for Manchester United wants to win trophies and be part of a winning Manchester United. It is the most magical feeling in the world to be part of a winning Manchester United team.”
The start of the Champions League campaign sees the intensity of the schedule rise again, with many players just returning from international service.
But Solskjaer sees the quality required to cope with his entire squad.
“The players are in better shape now and we’ve been very robust over the years and improved with the way we’ve handled the pandemic and with the games coming quickly,” he said.
“With those we have signed, it makes it easier to rotate and I have certainly said that to the team as well – I trust everyone on the team.”
Nev on Ronaldo impact: Manchester buzzes
Sky Sports expert Gary Neville speaking on the Gary Neville podcast:
“I walked into Manchester city center on Saturday morning and haven’t seen him so alive in five or 10 years. What he did to the Premier League for interest is exciting, but for the city , he’s absolutely buzzing with excitement – and that was before he even scored the two goals.
“I was in Salford and saw the news he scored. I could only imagine what the atmosphere was like and I spoke to a few people who were there and they said it was out of this world, bouncing like they’ve never seen him before. And, Salford scored in the last minute which meant it was the perfect football day. “
Ronaldo’s comeback: how the superstar delivered
Adam Bate of Sky Sports at Old Trafford:
“For all the hype, it’s the story of this boy Ronaldo and his ability with a ball. As Old Trafford looked forward to his comeback, he cut the noise with two goals and a winning lap during Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle.
“They have seen better individual performances from him here, but not for long, and never more remarkable than that. The wait had been almost overwhelming but Cristiano Ronaldo did what he always does and now fans will wonder what what that means for United.
“Immediately Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are back on top, paving the way for the Premier League. With Ronaldo back in the building, back on the pitch, everything looks different.
“Now they have a reason to believe they can stay over there.”