Solskjaer: No repeat of last year's Goodison trip
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed that Manchester United will not repeat the “lowest point” of his Old Trafford managerial reign when the Reds visit Everton on Sunday in the Premier League.
Last April, United were beaten 4-0 at Goodison Park and the display prompted the boss to apologise to the travelling supporters afterwards. Solskjaer is confident that dark day is a thing of the past and he promises his new-look United side will be up for the fight on Merseyside.
The memory is a bitter one for the manager but also something of a turning point in his United rebuild.
“That was the lowest I have been," he conceded. "We know that, we remember that it was just a capitulation.
“We had absolutely nothing about us, even though all the goals were counter-attacks from set-plays, long balls from throw-ins. But everything you didn’t want to see, we saw in that game.
“Everton, at home, they are hard to play against with the two up front. With the strikers, they put balls into the box, we knew what we were up against so I’m 100 per cent sure we will put a better performance up.
“I can, with hand on heart, 100 per cent say these boys will never give in, and never give up like that team did. These are the boys we want to build the next team around.”
The heavy defeat at Goodison confirmed Solskjaer’s thoughts that he had to reconstruct the Reds.
“That was the day, well the lowest, but I knew probably before then," he added. "But that was when one or two had their last chance more or less. But we had to get to the summer first.
“We knew when we made the decisions we did in the summer that it would take time. As I’ve said a few times, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But the culture, the attitude, the fitness, the camaraderie, the spirit and maybe even the understanding between players have improved.
“We have missed that box-opener that Bruno [Fernandes] is proving to be now. He is a big, big boost for us.
“He loves football, he wants to be out there and wants to be better. I tried to send him inside [after being substituted against Brugge] because it was cold but he said ‘no, I want to watch.’ He just loves football. He’ll know everything about football. He is one of those old-school boys where football is everything for him.”
The arrival of Fernandes has provided one of the key pieces of the new jigsaw but the full picture is not yet completed.
“There were one or two pieces missing and we still know we miss one or two, to be where we want to be. It is a work in progress,” said the boss.
“Kieran [McKenna] and Michael [Carrick] are fantastic on the training ground, I have to say, and the boys are willing to learn. And now we have more and more fit players.”
United were fast and clinical against Club Brugge as they demolished the Belgians 5-0 on the night in the Europa League second-leg tie at Old Trafford.
“That is the Manchester United the fans want to see, I think," he said. "There are loads of movements, combinations, one and two touch, runs into the box, attempts. We still think we have to be that type of team.
“We’ve also had six clean sheets in the last seven matches and that is not bad. It is a foundation to build on like the Bruces, Pallisters and Schmeichels.”