Solskjaer outlines transfer policy; watch Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports on June 19
Tuesday 9 June 2020 09:13, UK
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will avoid adding “rotten apples” to his squad and insists new signings must reflect his personality.
Solskjaer signed Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in his first summer transfer window as United boss in an attempt to shape a new-look team around a core of ambitious, young British players.
Portugal international Bruno Fernandes then arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in January - followed by the loan signing of Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo - and United continue to be linked with more domestic and foreign talent this summer.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic potentially affecting any big-money transfers this year, Solskjaer says any player he adds to his squad in the future will have to buy into the club's collective philosophy.
"I did feel that I was professional and did feel privileged to play for Manchester United," Solskjaer told the Shiv Nadar Foundation.
"I wouldn't be able to look at myself if I didn't know I'd given everything for my team-mates and my manager.
"That's what I also now look for in players that we sign or we bring up from the youth team. You have to have a good personality and that you are professional because one rotten apple in the basket will make the others rotten.
"So for me it's about building a team that will reflect me and my coaching staff's personalities and views. Of course there are standards because we want to win. We are in the business to win.
"But the first step to be a Manchester United player and person, you have to be humble enough to know you always have to work hard. Never give in and always do your best, 100 per cent effort is required every day and don't think you are better than you are.
"You still have to play with that confidence at the same time. It's a fine balance but that is what is going to make the difference when we want to get to the championship again that we want to win."
Solskjaer has also promoted academy prospects to the first team and given prominent roles to Brandon Williams, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood during his first full season in charge.
The younger members of the senior squad have thrived under the Norwegian's tutelage, and he believes more will break through from the academy soon.
"I think we've always been built on youth and young players coming through and there's always going to be one or two special kids coming through the youth system at Manchester United. We do have a couple who I'm sure that we will see in the next couple of years," Solskjaer said.
"I don't want to put pressure on them in giving the names now because I don't think it's fair but there's a few that we believe are going to make it as first-team players at Manchester United.
"Of course, you can see Mason Greenwood now and Brandon Williams, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba's been in the system, so has Andreas Pereira.
"It's fantastic to see those kids be successful and we think that we're going to see a few more coming through."
The victory in Austria stretched United's unbeaten run to 11 matches before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Solskjaer is confident they can continue where they left off.
"The first game is two weeks away so we need to step up the training and get an edge to our game again," the United boss told the club's official website. "Everyone knows that we will have to be at our best, have to be focused against Tottenham.
"We know it's a big game for everyone. We had Chelsea when we started the league this season so I'm confident that our players can go into the Tottenham game with that mentality of going there to play a very good game of football.
"Training has been about recapping what we did well, tweaking maybe one or two things and looking at some new ideas, but hopefully we can see a lot of what we saw towards the end before the lockdown."
The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday, June 17 and Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.
To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports will also launch a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.