Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has raised eyebrows by directly contradicting his claim that Manchester United finishing third in the Premier League is a “wonderful achievement”.
Solskjaer’s latest comments came as he escalated his war of words with Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the two sides’ blockbuster encounter on Sunday evening.
Mourinho – who spent two-and-a-half seasons in the Old Trafford dugout – previously claimed leading to United to a second-place finish in 2018 was “one of the best jobs of my career”.
But Solskjaer rubbished this suggestion in his press conference this week, insisting United can never settle for being second best.
“You can’t say that (finishing second) is an achievement,” said the Red Devils boss. “Our ambition is a lot more than second place.
“I said that when I was not even at the club. You can never be happy with that – and we are not. Don’t get me wrong, our ambition is to catch the team in front of us.”
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Solskjaer’s comments contradict those he made last summer after leading United to a third-place finish in the Premier League.
“It’s a wonderful achievement by everyone,” said Solskjaer, adding: “I think the boys have completed a great achievement.
“You know where we were earlier in the season, so to end up third is a fantastic achievement. Champions League qualification means better opposition next year and big games. That’s what these players need.”
At the time, centre-back Harry Maguire was less overawed by United’s third-place finish and said: “Finishing third in the Premier League should be a minimum requirement for this club.”
This season, United are on course to finish runners-up to local rivals Manchester City, whom they trail by 14 points with two games in hand.
Spurs, meanwhile, are seventh ahead of their home clash with Solskjaer’s side and harbour hopes of a finish in the top four.
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