Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targeting new signings who will work hard at Man United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prioritising signing players with a reputation for working hard as he looks to “set the culture right” at Manchester United this summer.

United look set for upheaval after an underwhelming sixth-place Premier League finish, in which they were a whopping 32 points behind champions Manchester City.

Solskjaer, as has been the case in recent weeks, did not name any individuals on his hit list but identified some of the character traits he would prefer in anyone who will move to Old Trafford over the next few months.

Solskjaer told United’s official app: “We’ve tried to educate our players and our kids to be proper people. In my view, the best players have always been the best people.

“You have to have that value system and a certain kind of attitude about you to make a Man United player.

“You have got to have the qualities and our fans want to see exciting players. Of course we want to get up from our seats. We want to see defenders who defend like they’re doing it for their lives – that’s the most important thing.

“When we start games (against big clubs), our fans clap a striker making a tackle. It’s always been in our culture. You have to have that work ethic and we’re scouting the market, trying to find the right ones.”

Solskjaer returned to the club as interim manager in December following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and his effervescent presence seemed to lift a cloud hanging over the club.

He won 14 of his first 17 matches in charge although, shortly after his appointment as permanent manager, familiar failings surfaced as a number of players under-performed in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Solskjaer wants to draw a swift line under what has gone and is already looking forward to pre-season, with United scheduled to tour Australia and Asia.
He added: “I can’t wait because it’s a fresh start. We set targets, aligning our ambitions and we’ll work together and agree certain principles.

“It’s always a massive month, or six weeks, that we have together to agree on how we’re going to do things to set the culture right.

“We want to get everyone fit for when the season starts. We don’t want to lose anyone with injuries.

“But there are a certain set of principles to say ‘this is the way we want to play’ and we can agree on, and find a system we feel comfortable in and just go from there.”

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Marcus Rashford eager to 'get back to how Manchester United play'

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Marcus Rashford wants to “get back to how Manchester United play” after an underwhelming sixth-place Premier League finish this season.

United recovered from a modest start under Jose Mourinho following the introduction into the dugout in December of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who won 14 of his first 17 matches in interim charge.

That gave United renewed hope of a top-four finish but, shortly after Solskjaer’s permanent appointment as manager, the club ran out of steam and won just two of their final 12 fixtures – and none of their last six.

Alongside an image which shows Solskjaer with his hand on Rashford’s shoulder, the 21-year-old wrote on his social media channels: “Next season we need to get back to how @manchesterunited play, for me that’s most important.

“We need to find that willingness and respond the right way.”

A number of players under-performed in the closing weeks of the campaign, including England forward Rashford, who became a regular under Solskjaer but failed to find the net in his last seven starts.

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Jose Mourinho insists a "nice guy" can become a "puppet" at Man United

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Jose Mourinho claims a “nice guy” manager can end up becoming a “puppet”.

In what could be construed as a swipe at his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mourinho says time has proved his methods at Old Trafford were not the problem.

Mourinho, who led United to second in the Premier League last season, was sacked in December after a dismal start to the latest campaign.

Solskjaer brought a fresh approach and lifted a lot of the gloom after taking over on an interim basis, winning 10 of his first 11 games, but form then deserted him after being appointed full-time.

United won just two of their last nine league games and finished in sixth, outside the Champions League positions.

Mourinho told L’Equipe: “Generally, the players can feel a certain erosion, especially when you ask a lot of them.

“When I say that the second season was fantastic, I say it because the potential and the objectives were met.

“I really squeezed, like an orange, to achieve them. When you have a very professional group of players who are ambitious, hard-working and talented, at a structured club, you don’t have that erosion.

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“When you are almost alone, in that you don’t have the support of the club close to you, while certain players go somewhat against the coach, who is the nice guy.

“I don’t want to be the nice guy, because the nice guy, after three months, is a puppet and that doesn’t end well.”

Mourinho continues to rate last season’s second place highly – when United finished 19 points behind Manchester City – and feels recent events have cast it in a greater light.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: “I said nine or 10 months ago that after winning eight championships, finishing second with United may have been my greatest achievement. Now people understand.

“About United I want to say only two things: One is that time has spoken. Two is that the problems are still there.”

Mourinho reportedly had his differences with record signing Paul Pogba, but he insists the problems at the club go far deeper than the France midfielder.

He said: “The problems are there, you can say that these are the players, the organisation, the ambition. I only say that I cannot say ‘yes’ when you ask if Paul was the only one responsible.”

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