Gary Neville on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man Utd appointment: Hard work starts now
Man Utd appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager on Thursday
Last Updated: 28/03/19 5:35pm
Gary Neville says "the hard work starts now" for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has identified where the new manager needs to strengthen.
Solskjaer had been in caretaker charge since December after the departure of Jose Mourinho and has overseen a remarkable turnaround in form at Old Trafford, losing just three games in all competitions.
Manchester United announced on Thursday that Solskjaer had been given the permanent position on a three-year deal, with the Norwegian's former team-mate Neville warning that the club still has a lot of work to do.
Read on to see what Neville had to say on Sky Sports News...
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'Hard work starts now'
"I'm delighted for Ole first and foremost. When he was first appointed, I never envisaged that he would get the permanent job. I remember at the time, I was talking about Mauricio Pochettino being the No 1 candidate and Ole just coming in to steady the ship and get everyone happy again, but the results and performances have been beyond incredible really - almost flawless.
"People will point towards the Wolves and Arsenal games but generally, in the last three or four months, the performances have been fantastic, as have the results, so I'm delighted for him. The hard work starts now.
"I always said that end of March, start of April was the right time to reflect and if it had gone past today, I would have been thinking that Ole wasn't going to be the permanent manager of Man Utd because it ultimately would have been delayed until the end of the season."
'Ole has bought happiness and excitement back'
"Let's be clear, Man Utd have still got a long way to go before they get back to being anywhere near where they should be and I don't think today is a time to start thinking that Manchester United are going to win the league in the next 10 minutes.
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"It has been an unhappy place for four or five seasons so I think the first thing is getting the fans excited to be going to the games again. In the last two or three months, I've felt excited by what I've seen for the first time in a while - the atmosphere in the ground has returned, the joy on the fans' faces, the away following has connected with the team again. The players have upped their game so I think this is phase one, to get the club happy again and that's where it's at.
"There is a lot of hard work still to do in the coming months and years to get Man Utd back to where it was before. I saw Louis van Gaal the other day say that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's football is like Jose Mourinho's but winning. Van Gaal's football at Man Utd was the worst I've ever seen and Mourinho's was far better, even though it wasn't acceptable in terms of what the fans want to see.
"We've had a lot of change at the club in the last four or five years with different managers coming in, world-class managers and it hasn't worked. Ole has bought a level of happiness and excitement back to the fans, which is at least something because it has been difficult to watch over the last three or four years."
'Defence main transfer priority'
"Defence is the main priority in terms of getting the centre-back pairings right because there have been so many changes. I think the defence is actually doing very well, it looks makeshift on paper but it outpunches its weight when you think about it.
Who should Solskjaer sign?
Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is permanent Manchester United manager, who should he sign this summer?
"Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been doing brilliantly well at right and left-back for a few years, Luke Shaw has started to perform really well in the last few months. Victor Lindelof has had a good season, Chris Smalling's doing well but in terms of that dominant presence, that is probably the key thing. A full-back and a centre-back in there, although there are other areas of the team.
"Solskajer does need the right support around him now and that was something I said a few months ago. The structures and the quality of the people around him to ensure Manchester United get ahead of the game in recruitment is critical. Solskjaer is not going to be a success at Man Utd unless he gets the right people around him on recruitment and gets the right players in. That is absolutely essential.
"And the amount of money Man Utd will spend will be big, but over the last few years, the club haven't fallen short and have always supported the managers. I don't think the club will fall short in financial terms, they will spend the money.
"It is in the back of my mind that the players have been fantastic in these last few months for Ole, but they are the same players that downed tools under Jose Mourinho and I'm conscious in my mind that the players need maintain that same level of concentration, determination and attitude now that Ole has been made the permanent manager.
"That is the critical thing - getting the signings right, getting the people around Ole right and making sure that the players, although the performances have improved, can continue to maintain the levels they've been at over the last three months and don't dip back to where they were before."