MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United do not need “superstar” signings in the summer to become title challengers, according to caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian is planning for next season despite being in the dark about whether he will be in charge.
Following an upturn in from since he took over, United are still 14 points behind table-toppers Manchester City and Liverpool, but Solskjaer has suggested he would not need to splash the cash to make up the ground.
“I think it is about who we’ve got here,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. “It is not about signing ‘X’ amount of players, it has to be the right one and one who fits, the personality has to fit with the team.
“It is not just buy a superstar and that will fix things and suddenly we go from challenging to being top four and be champions.”
Jose Mourinho spent close to £400 million in two and a half years at Old Trafford but was keen for the club to spend in January before his dismissal in December.
The Portuguese coach questioned United’s ambition after an outlay of close to £70m brought in Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant over the summer, but Solskjaer thinks the foundations of a title-winning squad are already in place.
“If you look at the players, the age of them, they’re young and they’ve got plenty of development in them,” said Solskjaer. “If every single player can improve by one or two percent.
“We also need some experienced players to stay and step up and really become the leaders. Paul [Pogba] now is.
“They’re at that age where we expect them to take that responsibility and not just be a young boy that floats around.”
Solskjaer has won nine of his 10 games in charge at Old Trafford prompting Pep Guardiola to say this week that United are still in the title race this season.
Solskjaer laughed off the suggestion ahead of the trip to Fulham on Saturday, but the 45-year-old insisted that United should be aiming to challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League as early as next season.
They won the last of their 20 titles in 2013 and haven’t been beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League since 2011.
“You’ve got to catch up the other teams ahead of us, especially City, Liverpool but now Tottenham,” said Solskjaer. “Obviously it’s three teams who have been far ahead but we’ve beaten Tottenham so we know that we’re capable of that but we need the consistency.
“Two years’ time is long enough, but also short enough, to say that we’ve got the possibility to make a big difference in our preparation, in everything.
“Next year, you always hope, of course. I came in from Molde, they were 10th in 2010, and in 2011 we won the league, so you can never say never.
“If we don’t dream and we don’t have that vision of where we are going then we will just falter. So for us, or me, I am only used to this club challenging for trophies so that is where I see us.”