Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has set himself the goal of leading Manchester United to Champions League glory after adding Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane to his ranks.
Manchester United failed to exit the group stage last year after starting a tough group with PSG and RB Leipzig. Solskjaer’s team finished third and had to be content with a place in the Europa League.
They would make it to the final of that competition only to end up losing to Villarreal, a team they have now worked with on this year’s edition of UEFA’s premier tournament.
Before the opening game against the Young Boys on Tuesday, Solskjaer has once again Europe’s biggest prize in mind.
“Of course, as you say, we’ve had some very good, unforgettable nights at the club and they’re the biggest nights,” he said at his pre-game press conference. “The goal is to go all the way, but we know it will be difficult. Its ever. But we have brought some quality, experience and youth into the squad and hopefully we are better prepared for the coming.
The Red Devils have started the current season in good shape and are currently at the top of the Premier League, albeit after only four games – the club was strengthened by adding club legend and football icon Cristiano Ronaldo to the deadline.
Ronaldo won the Champions League with United in 2008 before adding four more winners’ medals to his collection while at Real Madrid. Those wins came alongside Raphael Varane – a man who also joined the Portuguese at Old Trafford this season – and Solskjaer hopes the added experience in his team can make all the difference.
“I think sometimes you can go far with your youth, but in some games of course experience plays a role, but in others you need youthful exuberance and courage.”
“This team has grown and matured over the past few seasons, that was always the plan,” he added. “When I was there, we wanted a team with experience and quality that could challenge.
“David [de Gea] sat next to me, Harry [Maguire] has been here for a few years, Raphael and Cristiano. We learnt. The group is special as a unit, they take care of each other and it will be good for us. “
The Norwegian believes his strengthened squad as well as the exhausting campaign of last year have helped to better equip his team for the schedule and the challenge of honors.
“Yes. I can’t look at the squad and say that we played a game in the middle of the week and are tired. The players are now fitter and we have been very robust over the years and have dealt with the pandemic situation and the ever faster games have been greatly improved. Even the ones we signed are easier to turn. I told the team that I trust the members of the squad.
“There is nothing better than getting into a rhythm of relaxation, play, relaxation, play. Then we get our best game. “
United begins their game in Switzerland on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. BST.
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