Solskjaer: Man Utd squad depth strong enough

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted his Manchester United squad is strong enough to compete this season — even if there are no more new arrivals before the transfer deadline.

Solskjaer, who has made one summer signing in Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek, said United must “strengthen the squad depth” following the Europa League exit to Sevilla in August.

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But with just four days to go before the close of the window, the Norwegian said the performances of some of his players have forced him into a change of opinion.

“When I talk about the squad depth, of course the performances [last season] didn’t warrant me giving more of them more options,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. “The 11, 12 or 13 players deserved to play and they played really well.

“I think it’s a different scenario now. I’ve seen many of the other players who didn’t play too well the other season, play really well.”

Some of Solskjaer’s former teammates including Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher have been critical of the way United have gone about their business this summer. Solskjaer said in April that the coronavirus pandemic was something the club may be able to “exploit” to sign new players but it has proved far from easy for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and chief negotiator Matt Judge.

“I think my wording in lockdown ‘exploit’ was a bad word by me,” Solskjaer said. “I didn’t mean in that respect, I meant clubs out there have to move because of the situation and it might be a situation for us but there’s not been those situations.

“We’ve lost loads of money as the other clubs have as well. Pat, Rio, Gary and Fletch have always been welcome here to talk to me instead.

“We’re all wanting Man United as high as possible, it’s my job and that’s what I’m working with. The transfer window is still open for a little while and the club has been working and they know my view.”

After opening their Premier League campaign with a defeat and a win, United face Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday. The two managers have traded barbs ahead of the fixture but Solskjaer, who should have captain Harry Maguire available after he picked up an ankle injury against Brighton, is prepared to see the funny side.

“We are in strange times at the moment and you’ve got to sometimes have a bit of fun as well,” Solskjaer said. “It was a couple of innocent comments.

“For me, Jose’s a very charismatic coach and manager. He’s a winner. I’ve got ultimate respect for him as a coach and results and everything he’s given football.

“It’s just more for you and the media. It’s important that we have a bit of entertainment as well and Jose has throughout the years given us some fantastic moments in football, in press conferences and on the pitch.”