Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says winning is all he is focused on after signing a new Manchester United contract.
The Reds boss spoke of his delight at penning a new deal until at least 2024 with the option for another year.
During an exclusive interview with club media’s Mark Sullivan, Ole reflected on his time at the club so far and revealed his ambitions for the future, insisting his players are “ready now for the next step”…
Ole, congratulations on signing a new contract at Manchester United. How does it feel to extend your stay at the club?
“Of course it’s exciting. I’m very happy to be trusted to be a part of it. For me there are loads of things in the offing, I think we’re looking at plans for training grounds, we’re planning of course for work at Old Trafford and you want to be part of that. The last few years we’ve improved and we just want to take the next step.”
It feels like a really exciting time, just as it has been under your tenure. We’ve seen such progress so what now will be the next step for you and the team?
“We’re here to win of course. I can’t say we’re delighted with what’s happened so far because we haven’t won anything, but still, like what I’ve just said, the progress is there and I feel the squad is in a much better place and I think we’re gradually getting there by just what we’re doing every single day. We haven’t got a trophy to show for it, but I think we feel stronger and ready for the next challenge.”
How important is it for you to have that stability and the backing of the club?
“Ever since day one when I came in, even as a player, I’ve felt the backing on this club. Now of course after I signed the deal to be the manager the first time around we sat down and had a plan and there hasn’t been one moment where I’ve felt I’ve had to look over my shoulder. We have a plan, we stick to it, we know there will be bumps in the road, but now here we are and we want to step forward.”
You’ve already overcome many a challenge in your tenure, but is one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome being away from your family for long spells?
“Yes of course, that’s not nice and with the pandemic, it’s a difficult position to be in, but that’s part and parcel of life. You can’t [travel] easily without quarantining, but it seems like it’s opening up. That’s been the toughest challenge definitely.”
Your family must be immensely proud of you right now?
“Well, I don’t know! I don’t think we’re the type of people that walk around thinking you’re proud of what you’re doing… we always look forward, I’m that type, my wife is the same as are our kids. They don’t think about ‘Dad’s done this, Dad’s done that’ – they’ve got their own lives. We just live in the moment doing the best we can.”
And always looking at the next challenge…
“Definitely. That’s always it and that’s been it for me. I’ve never been the type to look back and rest on my laurels, I’ve always just tried to improve.”
You know the work ahead will always have pressures and challenges when you have the best job in the world – are you ready to face it?
“Of course. I wouldn’t have accepted it otherwise and I would stand down. But no, I’m really looking forward to it. The staff are amazing, you look forward to coming into work every morning. I’m an early starter but many of them are already there when I arrive and they challenge each other. It’s a very good working relationship we all have and of course the players have bought into our ideas and I think they’ve shown a great attitude to improve and learn and that’s key. You have to get the buy-in from the players and they are ready now for the next step.”