This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to Sky Sports, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the side’s renewed energy and focused attitude has been their biggest change from last season.
The Red Devils kicked off the Premier League campaign in emphatic fashion by thumping rivals Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford, and also enjoyed a perfect set of results in pre-season, although Monday night saw them only manage a draw against Wolves at Molineux.
Now, Solskjaer has suggested the side’s off-the-ball work is a major barometer of their improvement from last season.
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He said: “I know physical stats are not a lot to go from but there is a shift from this first league game and the Chelsea match three games from the end of last season. How much more we run now compared to then is encouraging. We’ve got energy, it’s still early doors, and we’re working hard on fitness still.
“The players have a chance every day to prove you should be part of this exciting future, and to be part of this club you have to give everything. The attitude of every single one of the lads this season has been spot on. That’s been maybe the most encouraging part for me.”
What Solskjaer alludes to is something United needed to have addressed in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. Attitude. High-profile stars like Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria, amongst others, joined the Red Devils in high-profile deals and flattered to deceive.
The Manchester side’s summer work in bringing in the likes of Daniel James, Aaron-Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire has gone a long way in trying to introduce a greater harmony in the squad by finding young players who are hungry for the shirt.
The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…
More than anything, what United simply need is a set of players who are willing to fight for the badge. Solskjaer’s intent on pressing from the front and winning the ball back as quickly as possible is predicated on his team embracing a philosophy of working hard.
And while some may question how much that was on show in the second half against Wolves, when United took their foot off the gas after taking a 27th-minute lead, it shouldn’t be forgotten that they lost this same fixture twice, to scorelines of 2-1, in the first half of 2019. Clearly, there has been improvement.