Former Sir Alex Ferguson assistant at Old Trafford sees signs of progress, but admits major silverware needs to be secured by ambitious club
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he is working under a “magnifying glass” at Manchester United and that he must “compete for trophies” to keep his job, says René Meulensteen.
The Norwegian has spent enough time at Old Trafford during his time playing to fully familiarize himself with the demands that are placed on anyone associated with the Red Devils.
He has helped deliver an impressive crop of top honors while operating as a prolific leader, but is yet to add to his medal collection as a coach.
The hope is that after reach three semi-finals last season, the 2020-21 campaign will see United return to the trophy track.
Positive progress being made in the Premier League and Carabao Cup quests, while the consolation prize of a place in the last-32 of the Europa League was accepted after slipping out of the Champions League.
Meulensteen believes Solskjaer may be the man to live up to expectations at United, despite the regular rounds of questioning he has faced throughout a two-year tenure, but admits patience at Manchester will only extend until now.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man said Astro Stadium: “If you are manager of Manchester United, you are under the magnifying glass.
“United is the biggest challenge. You not only have to win games, you also have to play a certain style of football, a certain brand. You need an offensive style and to win games and get results.
“It’s important for him this season to stay close to the top of the Premier League, especially after being knocked out of the Champions League. He must have another race in the Europa League.
“Last year they made it to three semi-finals and didn’t reach the final in one of them. For now, Ole can only do one thing and focus on the games at hand. He has stressed that he is there for the long haul, the club have supported him but he has to compete for trophies.
Meulensteen says Solskjaer is putting together the right ‘pieces’ at Old Trafford, with value found in the transfer market that has allowed the Red Devils to become competitive again.
The Dutchman added: “He was lucky to bring in some players, and the most important player he brought in is Bruno Fernandes.
“The evidence is there to show how he is the catalyst to get United to play for United. He’s very skillful, he’s got a great vision, he’s smart, he’s got a lot of creativity in his game, he’s not afraid to take risks. There are a lot of things there.
“There have been other players like Donny van de Beek, who I think we still haven’t seen the best of, Alex Telles at left-back, so little by little they’re starting to put the pieces together.
“Up front they have loads of rhythm and goal opportunities so it’s no surprise they’re up there in the league.
“But these are still the first doors and he still wants to be there at the end of March, beginning of April. If they’re there right now, or even top of the league, then they’re really title contenders again.
“It would be a fantastic job and would mean really good progress. For the moment, they are seated well with a game in hand.
The Red Devils saw them struggle Sheffield united 3-2 on their last outing, with another return win on the road lifting them to sixth in the table, five points behind the leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.