Ole sees more of him now in his United team
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he is starting to see a Manchester United squad made in his image, and is eager to see the enthusiasm and belief that he himself possessed during his playing days as a Red.
The boss, who was speaking to the media ahead of Thursday's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Derby County at Pride Park, spoke at length about the importance of footballers possessing the right mentality and what needs improving.
"Every day in training, I see enthusiasm and they want to learn, to improve," the Norwegian revealed, when when asked about what he sees from the players on the training ground.
"When I was a player, you can't just think that you've made it. I always strived to be better and tried to learn and, until the day I was finished, I tried to better myself."
As the season enters the all-important run-in, United are still in the hunt to win two trophies.
After comfortably progressing past Club Brugge last week, the Reds are up against Austrian side LASK in the last 16 of the Europa League and, should the Reds advance past the Rams on Thursday night, will also be in the last eight of the FA Cup.
"I feel that this squad is going places, that the players are taking on board what we're trying to sell to them," said the manager. "The camaraderie, the effort, the attitude is getting better and I can see more of me in this team than before."
When quizzed on how far the players are from having the winning culture he and the Treble squad from 1998/99 cultivated, the boss was pleased that the squad are making progress and provided a fascinating insight into the way he manages individuals.
"We're getting there day by day," he said. There are still some days here where I'm not 100 per cent happy with what's happened, but you understand. We're human beings, they're disappointed, but get on with it. I'm not going to feel sorry for you.
“You have to make yourself available for the next game, and competitive situations are what I like. I like to see players who say, okay, he's left me out for two or three games without explanation. I don't have to explain every time. Sometimes I do yeah, but it's a way for me to say I need more. You just can't speak to them 100 times and say we need a change in you. You've had opportunities.”
The boss admitted: "Football has changed. Some players get affected by: I've made money, I've made this, I've won a trophy or I can sit back and relax."
When Ole began his playing career at United, he was part of a squad that was full of stars with strong mentalities, such as Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, with Sir Alex Ferguson also in the dug-out as manager. When the Norwegian walked through the door in 1996, the young Solskjaer soon realised that football was a lot more than just doing as well as you can.
“I had the best of the lot as a manager. If you win something, you move on. You want to win the next one, you want to be better, you want to win the training session the day after, you want to win playing cards.”
Ramping up for Rams clash gallery
United have been training ahead of Thursday's Emirates FA Cup game against Derby County.
He added: "That group of players we're talking about, the '99 squad, the personality and the drive and the hunger in them was unbelievable. I didn't have that when I came to Man United. I was happy, smiley, I was always trying to just be the best I could be, but, when I came here, and started to win things, I realised that's what football is about.
“It's not just trying to better yourself, it's challenging yourself all the time and being so hungry and going for it. That's why I tried my last effort with the operation, because I needed to be 100 per cent to play for Man United and you have to be 100 per cent every day if you're going to win trophies nowadays.”
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