Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that he envisages his Manchester United side becoming like Liverpool in a few years if they build on what they have.
That is despite them falling to a shock 2-0 defeat to bottom side Watford in their most recent game, the latest in a long line of poor results against lower sides this season – having also being beaten by Bournemouth, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
They meet the latter again on Boxing Day, and Solskjaer issued a rallying cry ahead of it – but did admit that they are behind schedule in their growth as a club.
“We’re halfway through this season and we knew this season was going to be a season of some ups and downs,” Solskjaer said.
“This season will be used to find a team and a squad for next season, but hopefully we can speed this process up by getting more results.
“Expect us to be more consistent, definitely more experienced and learning from these setbacks, but at the moment we’re a little bit further behind than what I was hoping for, yeah.
“Of course we want to be a team that can go and dominate teams and break teams down.
“It’s taken Liverpool a few years to get to that state and we need to just keep on building because that’s what we want to get to.
“Yes, we’re good at counter-attacking. Yes, we’ve got pace and fast players. We should always keep that because that’s in our tradition.
“Now we need to be better at breaking lower blocks.
“Even (against Watford), we create loads of chances towards the end, but every time we lose it, it’s a counter-attack.
“So, you need to lock it down more, better at stopping the counter-attack. That’s where this team is going to learn and grow and I’m sure we’ll see an improvement over this season and hopefully for next year.”
Solskjaer doesn’t think it’s all doom and gloom though, and is optimistic that United will bounce back on Boxing Day due to a trend he has noticed from his side this season.
“One of the good things about the team this year, we have reacted after bad results,” he added.
“We haven’t kept the consistency as we’d like the other way, but we’ve never gone on a big run like we did towards the end of last season so there will be a reaction, definitely.”