Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United are “working hard” to bring in new faces as their season gets under way amid a backdrop of discontent.
After a promising first full campaign as Old Trafford manager, the chances of improving on last season’s third-placed Premier League finish and three cup semi-final appearances look set to be hampered by a lack of business.
Solskjaer knows better than most what it takes to win trophies at United, who have come under criticism for only bringing in Donny van de Beek as their well-document pursuit of Jadon Sancho stalls.
Borussia Dortmund’s €120million (£108m) asking price is a key issue and Solskjaer refused to speak about the England international, saying “you know I can’t say anything about other clubs’ players out of respect to them”.
The United boss’ refusal to speculate did, though, come with understanding about growing fan frustration and an appreciation of supporters’ passion as they wait for the club to act before the October 5 deadline.
“Of course I want players in the building that we want to work with and who want to be a part of it, and who want to be here,” Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday’s clash at home to Crystal Palace.
“You need the quality on the pitch. You also need the personal qualities but you also really want to be here, and you need to show that you want to be here.
“That’s really important for us as a group that we move forward.
“It’s not as big a pool (as potential options) as for other clubs because being part of Man United and being good enough for Man United is one thing, then you’ve got another club who probably want to keep that type of player of that quality.
“My focus is us, of course. You see other clubs, what they do. They put a challenge up for us. Our response has to be results. That’s the response.
“We can be best at the things that don’t cost anything – the culture here, the training, the coaching, getting fitter.
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already brought in Donny van de Beek but Jadon Sancho remains Manchester United’s number one target.
“But, yeah, we’re looking at a small pool of players that can add to the quality of our team and let’s see what we can do. The club are working hard and I understand that they are working hard.”
Asked if the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact, Solskjaer said: “I think you can’t ignore the impact of the coronavirus.
“I think that’s really changed the market. It happened more or less in that period where maybe negotiations would happen.
“Of course the financial uncertainty of that has added on the difficulty of predicting where we’re at.
“You want always to have as long as possible with players.
“I think last season, though, shows that good players can adapt and get into a group quickly.
“Harry (Maguire) came in very late in the transfer window and he had a great impact on the performances in the team.”
Bruno Fernandes is another that hit the ground running after arriving late in a transfer window last season, but Solskjaer has also previously made clear that he would like business done as quickly as possible.
“Well, you know, when we sit down and we discuss and we have plans, sometimes it doesn’t happen as planned,” Solskjaer said. “Life isn’t a straight line here. Sometimes things happen.
“I’ve always said, these players…I’m very happy to work with them.
“Of course, I’m not going to take anything away from them either because we have to go into this season confident with how we did towards the end of the season.
“We need that consistency, of course, to start with. That’s key. And transfers, there’s still a few weeks left of the transfer window. It might happen that we get someone in.
“I’ve worked with the club and they know what I feel this team and the squad needs. Let’s see if we can add to what we have.
“But the ones who are here have really taken a step forward and done themselves favours to be in the squad, moving forward.”