Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: The start of the season is very important

Manchester United started their season slowly last time around and endured a forgettable run at Old Trafford, losing six and drawing four of their 19 home Premier League games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Aug 12, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has emphasised the significance of getting off to a strong start in the upcoming Premier League season. With fans back inside Old Trafford for the visit of Leeds United on the opening weekend, Solskjaer will hope for a positive start to the new campaign. A year ago, United started their season slowly and endured a forgettable run at Old Trafford, losing six and drawing four of their 19 home Premier League games. On the other hand, the Red Devils went the entire 2020-21 campaign unbeaten away from home in the league. “The start of the season is very important,” the Norwegian told Sky Sports. “We were very bad at home at the start of last season but then, away from home, we were unbeaten.

“Finally we’ve got our fans back, that’s going to mean a hell of a lot for our players, it’s going to give us energy. That first tackle, that first shot, is going to give our players and fans energy. We went the whole season undefeated away from home last year so let’s hope we get that same consistency at home as we did away. It’s a chance for every team to start well, and we want to start well. I’m just looking at the Leeds game now, we’ve done the pre-season, that foundation is laid.

“Leeds is a one-off game, I think everyone who plays against Marcelo Bielsa’s team knows they are one-off, special games and you have got to do everything correct to have a chance of getting a good result. We’re looking forward to it, physically and tactically we are up for a hard day. After that we can see if we’ve started off better than what we did last season.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Europa League final defeat

Manchester United finished second in the league last season and reached the Europa League final before losing it to Villarreal in a penalty shootout. David de Gea missed the crucial spot-kick in a lengthy shootout. “It was disappointing,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. “It was a game we should have won; there was one shot against us on target, so it wasn’t like we were under the cosh. But it doesn’t matter, the result was what it was. Waking up the next morning was a horrible feeling, you don’t want that feeling again, you don’t want to lose finals or big games. I’m made that way anyway, I’m more determined to do well.

“Sometimes having those defeats in finals makes you come back with extra motivation because you remember that feeling and don’t want that to happen again. Sometimes when you win you might just rest on your laurels and think ‘it’s done, we’re great players’. We know we’re a good team, but we know we have a little bit to go to be where we want to be and win trophies.”

‘Don’t think anything is beyond these boys’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has recently committed his future to the club until 2024. In this summer window, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton have moved to Old Trafford, while Raphael Varane’s move is expected to be finalised any time now. “I’m excited by the squad,” he added. “I don’t think anything is beyond these boys. It’s just how we fare between now and the end of the season.

“How much sacrifice, how much discipline, how much team camaraderie, how much consistency, how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears – all these qualities and cliches. If you want to be the best you have to live like the best, you have to work as the best and perform every three days. It’s going to be tough, but it is possible, definitely.”

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