Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that his Manchester United rebuild will take longer than perhaps expected, insisting that the club must be prepared for more dark days.
United‘s 2-0 defeat to Burnley on Wednesday night made it two Premier League defeats in a row and confirmed the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 30 years, having gained 34 points from 24 games.
Indeed, the result in midweek was Burnley’s first win at Old Trafford since 1962.
Despite the poor run of form under Solskjaer this term, however, reports on Thursday indicated that the Norwegian has retained the full backing of the board and will be trusted to continue with his work.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, the manager was keen to echo that message to reporters.
He said: “I think our fans know what we have started on and I’ve been trusted to do that job and that rebuild doesn’t go one way all the time. It doesn’t just go ‘we’re doing great’, ‘we’re doing great’, I’ve said it so many times.
“The foundation has to be laid and the culture has to be properly set and laid down and this group is a good core of players that believe in themselves and what we’re doing to carry us forward with signings and players coming back.
“You need to knock the house down, you don’t just start with the roof, we’ve had some rainy days and wish that roof was on, but we can’t hide.”
Asked if he will be given enough time by those above him, Solskjaer said: “When you start on something you stick to that plan.
“I’m not going to change six or eight, or nine or 10 months into the job and start believing in a different way.
“I’m going to stick to what I’ve been trusted to do by the club and hopefully that’ll be good enough, that what we can see is right. All my conversations with the club have been positive.”
Solskjaer was previewing Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Tranmere Rovers, who beat Watford in extra-time in Thursday’s third-round replay.
Eric Bailly could make his first appearance of the season against the League One side, having returned to the bench for the last two matches after recovering from a serious injury.
Solskjaer said: “Eric has had a couple of behind closed doors games [at Prenton Park].
“The pitch is not great but that’s the same for both of us and the players just have to be focused, ready, there are divots everywhere. This generation coming through with astroturf and nice pitches get lazier in the heads.
“Eric is one of team who’s more prepared for that pitch. Everyone’s got to be focused with the bounce of the ball.”
United follow up Sunday’s game with a Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City.