Weeks after acknowledging Manchester United needed a deeper squad to challenge for trophies, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Friday he was happy with the players at his disposal despite the club making just one signing for this season.
United heads into the final days of the transfer window with only a single arrival in the form of midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax.
Meanwhile, United’s big rivals like Chelsea and Manchester City have spent heavily this window, while Premier League champion Liverpool also has been active in recent weeks in bringing in Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.
There was a noticeable drop-off in quality between Solskjaer’s starting team and his replacements in the final months of last season, meaning the United manager barely changed his lineup.
However, Solskjaer said the situation has changed and that “there is competition for places now” in his existing squad.
“Of course, the performances last season didn’t warrant me giving too many of them more (opportunities) because I think the 11, 12, 13 players who played really well deserved to play more,” Solskjaer said Friday, with just three more days to go until the transfer window closes. “And that means when you don’t play, you don’t get the fitness and sharpness to knock on the door and get in the team.
“I think it’s a different scenario now after two games already. I have seen many of the other players that didn’t play too much last season play really well.”
Solskjaer said in April, when the league was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, that a club as wealthy as United could be able to “exploit” the transfer market because of the financial uncertainty in the game.
“My wording during lockdown — ‘exploit’ — was a bad word by me,” Solskjaer said. “I didn’t mean it in that respect. I meant there might be clubs out there and players who have to move because of the situation and that it might be interesting for us.
“At the moment, there’s not been those situations. We have lost loads of money, as other clubs have as well.”
United, which has been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, started the Premier League season with a home loss to Crystal Palace and needed a penalty in the 10th minute of stoppage time last weekend to win 3-2 at Brighton, which struck the goal frame on five occasions.