Solskjaer sweats on Maguire fitness for Europa League final
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Jose Mourinho once called guiding Manchester United to a second-placed finish in the 2017-18 edition of the Premier League “one of his best achievements”. However, with United on the verge of finishing second for the first time since that season, current Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said second place is “not an achievement”.
Speaking ahead of United’s game against Fulham on Tuesday, Solskjaer was asked if he felt finishing second would be a great achievement.
“The competition is a lot harder now than when I was a player, I’ve got to say,” Solskjaer replied.
“Of course, you have three, four, maybe five teams that challenge for the top two positions.
“The last few years, of course, the first two positions have been taken by two teams and for us to move into them and divide them, if you like, it’s a good performance but it’s not an achievement.
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“You can’t say it’s an achievement. We’ve taken steps as a team, we’re not where we want to be.
“We know we have some deficiencies as a group. There are parts of the game we need to improve on but I’ve felt we’ve made strides in most places.
“I’ve been very pleased with the players this season, I’ve got to say. I’ve been impressed by them, but we want to take the next step as well.”
Solskjaer also said last month that his “ambition is a lot more than second place”, telling reporters: “You can’t say that [finishing second] is an achievement.
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“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.”
Mourinho infamously made the claim that finishing second with United was one of the biggest achievements of his career back in 2019, telling beIN SPORTS: “If I tell you, for example, that I consider one of the best jobs of my career was to finish second with Man United in the Premier League, you will say, ‘this guy is crazy’.
“‘He won 25 titles and he is saying that a second position was one of his best achievements?’
“I keep saying this because people don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, and sometimes we, in this side of the cameras, analyse things with a different perspective.”
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