The Norwegian is hoping his side can banish the memory of three semi-final defeats last term by securing major silverware in May
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident that Manchester United are heading in the right direction after seeing them progress in the Europa League, with the manager believing that the “culture is improving” at Old Trafford.
United reached the last 16 of Europe’s second-tier competition after beating Real Sociedad 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 32 – finishing the job with a 0-0 draw on home soil on Thursday after a stunning first-leg performance last week.
The Red Devils were knocked out at the semi-final stage in 2019-20, but Solskjaer is hopeful they can go all the way this time around after using past failures as fuel to improve.
What was said?
The Norwegian boss told BT Sport post-match: “You remember the defeats more so than the wins. To get the semi-finals in any competition, you’re so close.
“We’ve had three of them, we’ve lost one, so this group knows how it feels.
“We are a group that are very tight together. You come in, your work every day, you have a few setbacks and knocks.
“We want to go further but when you have failed before you want to do better.
“The culture is really improving and we’ve got some fantastic players and fantastic coaches.”
United will now look ahead to a Premier League meeting away at Chelsea on Sunday, which comes three days before they’re due to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Solskjaer added on the importance of maintaining focus heading into the business end of the campaign: “Now until the international break, I think we have six or seven games, all important games, so these three weeks now are going to be massive for us.
“But confidence is good and hopefully we will get a few players back in.”
The bigger picture
United have slipped 10 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race, but haven’t given up on the trophy just yet, with a trip to Etihad Stadium still to come next month.
They are also now being billed as favourites to win the Europa League, while an FA Cup quarter-final date against Leicester City is also looming large on the horizon.
Solskjaer still has a great chance of bringing the Red Devils’ four-year trophy drought to an end, which will likely have a huge bearing on whether or not he is offered a contract extension later this year.