Marcus Rashford has explained why Manchester United would have found it “impossible” to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season had Jose Mourinho continued as manager.
Fan favourite Solskjaer joined on a deal until the end of the season 2018-19 season, after the sacking of Mourinho in December.
The intention was for Solskjaer to return to his role at the Molde helm in May, with the Norwegian club’s chief executive Oystein Neerland saying they are happy to “lend” their manager to United.
But Solskjaer is now the overwhelming favourite to take the manager’s role on a full-time basis – this report here named the wages and length of contract he can expect to sign, despite seeing his star slip over the past 10 days after successive defeats at Arsenal and Wolves.
Nonetheless, United were 11 points adrift of fourth spot and 13 points off third position when Mourinho was sacked in December; now after a brilliant run of form under Solskjaer, United are very firmly in the mix for a top-four finish and currently find themselves trailing the fourth-placed Gunners by two points, while the gap to Spurs in third is just three.
And assessing the way Solskjaer has completely changed United’s mentality, Rashford told GQ magazine: “We’re in a place now, in the league, that was pretty much impossible two months ago.
“So we’re just looking to carry it on now, to try and better ourselves, and look forward to the next season.
“I think just his [Solskjaer’s] presence around the building has changed everyone really. Even the lady at the front desk, Kath, she’s been working there for years, and you notice a difference in everyone.
“Growing up at United, that’s what the feeling has always been like – like this – and to have it back, the way it is now, is amazing. That’s without even touching on what we’ve done on the pitch – how we’ve improved ourselves as a team, because that’s where we can still improve a lot.
“But the feeling I have now is all the players understand that. When everyone’s on the same page, there’s no telling how far we can get. What he’s done since he’s come in is remarkable.”
Solskjaer told his United players that they offered the worst display of his reign on Saturday night as Wolves beat them 2-1. One report suggests the players’ left Molinuex licking their wounds, but speaking before the game, Rashford explained the differences in tactical approaches between Mourinho and the Norwegian.
“He’s come in and the first thing he was going on to us all about was about playing forward, and playing forward when you see the pass, which usually, if you look up straight away, the pass is on straight away,” Rashford said.
“I think getting that, planting that seed in people’s minds, now you’ll start to see that people are looking for the forwards now. When the other team have the ball, we have one eye on our defensive duties, but then another eye is on, if we win it back, ‘Where’s the space? Where can we go?’
“I’d say that’s been the biggest change, and it’s risky, but it’s worth the risk if it pays off. And if we can do both like the team’s willing to do – the forwards are willing to track back – we can look forward to a lot of the games in the future.”