Zlatan Ibrahimovic is never one to hide his true feelings.
Right or wrong (often the latter), the Swede is always willing to give his opinion, particularly in regards to action on the pitch.
And when given the opportunity to talk about Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the AC Milan forward duly delivered.
Asked how the current United side compared to the one he played in, he said: “I think it’s better, it looks better, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t win nothing. I think it was better than mine, but I won trophies, that’s the big difference.”
Ironically, Ibrahimovic was talking straight after they had knocked his Milan side out of the Europa League. That result continued Solskjaer’s impressive record in the early rounds of cup competitions – reaching the quarter finals in their last eight.
But taking the last step has proved the hardest. Losing their last four semi finals on the trot.
Solskjaer will have reached 150 matches in the Old Trafford dugout by the time this season is out and by then, he could have added two trophies to the teeming cabinet.
There is also a chance that his wait will go on. Leicester City will provide a tricky proposition in the FA Cup on Sunday, while a Europa League run will also be difficult to negotiate.
But the Red Devils boss is seemingly not too bothered about adding silverware, claiming cups can be seen as an “ego thing” for managers.
“I’ve been here for two-and-a-half of those years and, coming in, as I’ve said so many times, I felt a big rebuild had to be made,” Solskjaer said.
“In the league position you see if there’s any progress. For me, that’s always the bread and butter of the season, that you see how capable you are of coping with ups and downs.
“Any cup competition can give you a trophy but sometimes it’s more of an ego thing for other managers and clubs to finally win something.”
It marks a vastly different stance to his predecessor Jose Mourinho, who is seemingly motivated by little else than winning competitions.
Who can forget his “respect” rant, when the then United boss’ credentials were being questioned? For all of his faults, and there are many, the Portuguese is a serial winner.
He often used the cup competitions as a spring board for success in the league and if the ‘Special One’s’ aura has been tarnished recently, Solskjaer can also turn to his mentor for a similar mindset.
Sir Alex Ferguson has always pointed to the FA Cup success in 1990 as the major stepping stone to turning around fortunes at the beginning of his tenure at the club.
Progress is all well and good. And it’s clear there has been immense progress in terms of the football being played, but Ibrahimovic is right, at Manchester United, without trophies, the rest simply “doesn’t matter”.
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