Jose Mourinho was proud of taking the Reds to the runner-up spot – but his next rival will not settle for anything less than the title
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that finishing a distant second in the Premier League standings does not constitute a meaningful feat for the Red Devils.
United currently trail rivals Manchester City by 14 points at the top of the table and look unlikely to catch Pep Guardiola’s men before the end of the season.
But while it would be only their second runner-up finish in the top flight since winning the league for the last time in 2012-13, Solskjaer is adamant they must aim higher.
What was said?
“You can’t say that is an achievement,” Solskjaer told reporters when asked about the merits of finishing second.
“Our ambition is a lot more than second place. I said that when I wasn’t at the club – you can never be happy with that and we’re not.
“Don’t get me wrong, our ambition is to catch the team in front of us.
“At the moment [City] have had a fantastic season, they have had three or four of them, and we know the challenge ahead of us. But we have to take it on. If you don’t, then you’re in the wrong place because that is what I am going for.
“Players have to really take that on with the sacrifices they have to make and the work they have to do. Blood, sweat and tears have to be put down because this is the best league in the world – and the most difficult.”
One man who might disagree with Solskjaer’s opinion is none other than Jose Mourinho.
The Tottenham boss, who welcomes his former employers to north London on Sunday, was proud of United’s efforts in finishing 19 points behind City in second while he was in charge in 2017-18.
“It is difficult to believe that we finished second because you are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, and you make them look like serial winners,” he explained back in 2018 while still United manager.
“So it’s difficult for me to understand or to feel or to believe that we finished second, which I keep saying that I – and sometimes it’s also difficult to believe – that I won eight championships and three Premier Leagues.
“But I keep saying and thinking and feeling that the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game.”