Solskjaer says Man Utd should forget about catching Man City next season and be realistic with targets

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER believes Manchester United can forget about closing the gap to the title next season.

United host Manchester City tonight as they hunt down back-to-back Premier League crowns.

Solskjaer says Man Utd should forget about catching Man City next season and be realistic with targetsGetty – Contributor2 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he and Manchester United as a club will have to be patient if they hope to start competing with top two, Liverpool and Man City

The gulf in class is evident by the 22-point difference between the local rivals and could well be rubbed home on the pitch at Old Trafford tonight, too.

United’s current run of six defeats in eight in all competitions, culminating in Sunday’s 4-0 horror show at Goodison Park, has revealed too many problems in Solskjaer’s squad.

Too many for now to transform them back into the force they were — and too serious to start matching City and Liverpool.

Solskjaer said: “I don't think we've got the consistency to do that.

“Over the last 18 games, we're not far away from them but it's doing it over the course of a season. We've done it for half a season now. Let's see.

“You can never say never.

“You cannot expect things to happen overnight and we know that. It will happen gradually and we have to be realistic enough as a club that we have to take it step by step.

“That's not changing 10 players now and bringing 10 players in. It's slowly, slowly but surely. It has to be the right quality, right personality, the right standards to get us back to where we want to be.”

They are still as far away from that as they were five years ago this week when David Moyes was axed.

The attitude of the players wasn’t right then and Solskjaer is at the end of his tether with the attitude of many in this group now.

But don’t be fooled into believing this is a manager will be ridden over roughshod.

NO SOFT TOUCH

If anyone thought Solskjaer was a soft touch they should have been in the dressing room at Goodison after Sunday’s humiliation.

Or more to the point, after tonight’s derby, if his side flop again.

The problem is whether anyone is listening anymore.

It’s been six years of this now.

Moyes telling the then champions they had to aspire to be like Manchester City.

Louis van Gaal saying it was time to forget about Manchester United being a dominant force.

Jose Mourinho claiming it was a minor miracle to get the club into second place.

Now Ole Solskjaer making it clear the team are disrespecting the badge with their performance at Goodison and questioning the players’ passion.

Blimey it must be wearing thin for a group of fans who were just used to being the best.

The problem is it is all going in one ear and out of the other.

So low is spirit again after years of this that some players don’t care if they stay or go.

Solskjaer says Man Utd should forget about catching Man City next season and be realistic with targetsGetty – Contributor2 Enigmatic £89m midfielder Paul Pogba is one of the big names whose Manchester United future seems uncertain

In the cases of Juan Mata and Andreas Herrera they are happy to go.

Paul Pogba could be on his way.

David De Gea and Marcus Rashford are not rushing to commit themselves either.

This is Manchester United!

Players would have given their right foot to come here at one time..well maybe not because they then wouldn’t play but you know what I mean.

As Solskjaer released his post match Goodison tirade there was little or no response from the players in the dressing room.

That was perhaps even more concerning.

To think it was not so long ago Solskjaer had cast away the gloom.

The recent run culminating in that Everton performance has brought all the old problems rushing back, leaving Solskjaer with a bigger job on his hands than he could ever have imagined in those heady early days of his reign.

Speaking yesterday ahead of the derby Solskjaer said: ““I think now is not the time to make drastic changes, but of course we do plan ahead. As I’ve said, we know who we want to bring with us.

“There’s many of these players who will stay at the club for so many years and be successful, and I’m going to do everything I can to be successful and hopefully these players can come out with a response the next four games, the last four games, short term.

“But we’re still planning long term, and that’s just natural. That’s the cycle of a team, that it changes.

'CHANGE MINDSET'

“When you are part of Man Utd winning, you’re feeling great. If you’ve been at Man Utd and you’ve not been part of it then I think you think ‘Oh, I should have been there’.”

For now there is a major concern at the club that if the players do not lift themselves before tonight they will be in for another mauling.

Solskjaer always said he would find out the true character of his side in times of trouble and it was all laid bare before him at the weekend.

The fact it is their nearest and not so dearest lauding it about them in City and Liverpool does not help.

Solskjaer said: “For a supporter as I am, and as a manager now as well, because they’re so close in the vicinity as well, we want to be the best.

We have been the best, and it’s not nice seeing those two at the top.”

United’s sights have been set lower for some time now and it is the last four that this side is aiming for. They are three points short of that with four games to go.

Solskjaer said: “It’s possible but we’ve got to change our mindset. We’ve got to be ready for it.

“We can’t sulk. We can't be dwelling on what has happened the last few weeks.

“We’ve got to be ready and we know football changes like this.

“On certain days you’re lucky and you win games and sometimes you lose games.

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“In the long run, it’s standards, your professionalism and your value as a footballer that will take over and make you successful in the end.

“Short-term, definitely we can win these four games.”

Recent evidence, however, suggests otherwise.

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