Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that Manchester United will never be satisfied with a top-four place and says winning trophies is always the priority at Old Trafford.
This followed comments from Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino — understood to be Solskjaer’s main rival for the United job — that Champions League qualification is more important than silverware.
Solskjaer said: ‘That’s not the dream, to be top four. We’re Manchester United, you should always aim to win the league.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) insists winning trophies is always the priority at Old Trafford
‘We can’t do it this year but we’ve just got to look forward to that again because we have to get back to that.
‘We’ve got the Champions League and we’ve got the FA Cup — we can’t just say top four and that’s it. We’ve got to look at, “Can we win something this year?”
‘I go into every single game as United manager thinking we can win this game. We are still in the FA Cup and we are going to try to win it.’
As Solskjaer led United into the fifth round at the expense of Arsenal with his eighth win in a row as caretaker boss, Pochettino’s side crashed out of their second cup competition in the space of four days at Crystal Palace.
The Norwegian is determined to instill the same winning instinct at Old Trafford that he learned as a player under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Norwegian boss has enjoyed a perfect start to life as United’s interim manager
‘I’m not here to discuss what Pochettino says,’ he added. ‘But we are about winning trophies, of course. If you win trophies that’s a fantastic day for everyone in the club. It’s just the best time of your life when you win because you never know when the next one is going to come.
‘The manager always said, “Enjoy this, whatever trophy you win”. It’s not up to me to discuss whatever anyone else says, I’m just saying that here at this club we are looking to win trophies.’
Solskjaer, who will go in search of victory No 9 against Burnley at Old Trafford tonight, couldn’t be happier with life back at United.
Solskjaer poses with the FA Cup in 2004 alongside United team mates and Sir Alex Ferguson
The 45-year-old revealed that he is preparing for next season even though it is unclear whether he will still be in charge.
‘I love it,’ he said. ‘It’s what you want. We’ve had some fantastic results, great performances and I can see the improvement in many aspects.
‘I see myself as a United product because I started my career as a coach here. I’ve done my badges over here so the biggest part of my football life has been here in Manchester. Just being here is a great achievement, being asked to be here.’
Asked if away wins over Tottenham and Arsenal had changed some people’s perception of him as a coach, he replied: ‘I don’t mind what anyone else thinks about me.
‘My job is to improve the team here. My job is for Man United and what they think about me is the most important thing. But of course, the more you win, the more you feel good. The feelgood factor is getting better.
‘After the first games, everyone said it was just about attacking, attacking, attacking. But it’s the other part I’ve been very happy with because we’ve not conceded many chances.
‘I’m here to prepare for next season. What United are going to look like — with or without me, it doesn’t matter. We need to use these months now to be ready for the challenge next year.
‘We came second last season and we wanted to be challenging for the top place. It didn’t happen. Now it’s about re-organising and just starting next season ready to challenge and see where it takes us.’
Solskjaer faces difficult selection decisions on Tuesday night after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez made the most of the opportunity when they were recalled to the starting line-up at Arsenal.
Solskjaer will have to pick between Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez for clash with Burnley
Lukaku set up two of the goals in the 3-1 win, including one for Sanchez on his first return to the Emirates as a United player.
‘It’s difficult to leave players out, but it’s easy to put players in. That’s the thing,’ added Solskjaer. ‘You can only play with 11 but as long as you have got so many players, like I have, that’s a good problem.
‘I’ve been on the end of, ‘I need to speak to you, son’ a couple of times. He (Ferguson) gave me the reason why and told when I was going to play again, so that’s no problem.
‘Everyone who wants to be part of a successful team has to understand that they have their time and the other players in the squad have theirs and we do this together.’