- United could benefit from City arrogance, says manager
• Solskjær believes United are still a bigger club than City
Jamie Jackson – The Guardian
Solskjær said that United can match City and Liverpool if they head in the right direction. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock
Ole Gunnar Solskjær hopes Manchester City will approach Saturday’s derby with arrogance because this could allow Manchester United to land a “sucker punch”.
United travel to the Etihad Stadium 11 points behind City but Solskjær is confident of his side’s prospects. Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur followed victories over Chelsea and Leicester City plus a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
The manager was asked whether City should fear United in light of those results.
“We might not want them to be scared of us, we might want them to be arrogant and confident because you don’t have to shout the loudest to throw the sucker punch. It’s not about shouting the loudest, it’s about doing the talking on the pitch.”
Solskjær was adamant that United, the record 20-times English champions, remain a bigger club than City, who have won four Premier League titles in the last seven years and last season claimed an unprecedented domestic treble. He also rejected the notion that United cannot compete with City, which his predecessor, José Mourinho, has claimed.
“Don’t agree,” he said. “What are you going do? Are you going to give up? Not challenge them? That’s what we’ve got to get back to. You can’t argue that we’re [not] too far behind but it’s a chance for us now to challenge them and bridge that gap a little bit. So we’re going there to win, we’re going there to get a result, even though we know it’s going to be difficult.”
Solskjær stated how United can catch City and the leaders, Liverpool. “We keep on going in the direction we’re going,” he said. “We know that we need to strengthen the squad in depth and in quality.”
He pointed to the summer recruitment of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Harry Maguire. “We’ve signed three good ’uns, for sure. We’ve got some young ones through but still the depth of the squad, especially when you think about all the injuries we’ve had, we haven’t been able to have that consistency. But when we get those [new] players in I’m sure that gap is going to be closed.”
Solskjær suggested there may not be any more Galáctico-style signings in the mould of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Ángel Di María and Radamel Falcao.
“Do I look like I’m going to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on players we’re not sure of? As I said, we need to rebuild, we need to change the culture.
“You want the culture with that hunger and selflessness that most of these players are showing. You’ve got the [Scott] McTominays and [Marcus] Rashfords and [Jesse] Lingards, the players that know what Man United is.”
Paul Pogba is not available but Anthony Martial has recovered from injury, the manager said.