Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is “100 per cent sure” that the club has the right structure in place and says money is available to strengthen his struggling squad.
United are 12th in the Premier League table, just two points above the relegation zone and 15 adrift of league leaders Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s clash with their fierce rivals at Old Trafford.
The club’s hierarchy and recruitment under executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has come in for severe criticism but Solskjaer has described that as “an insult” as he looks to the future.
“I’ve got a three-year contract now so of course (we are) planning long-term,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “If you lose a game or two you don’t wait for a call to be given assurances but we have started out a plan and a recruitment plan is in place.
“I am 100 per cent sure from my time here that the structure is right because it’s always the manager who has the final say.
“I know people have said stuff about our recruitment but it’s almost like an insult to the recruitment office, the scouts and us as professionals — me and (assistant manager) Mick (Phelan), the staff. We make decisions on the players that we want to have and who’s available and then it’s the negotiations.”
United spent £145 million ($185 million) in the summer on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, but Solskjaer said more funds were available for the right “ready-made” players.
“The money is there and I’ve been looking at players,” Solskjaer added. “We were close to a couple of players but they weren’t right.
“The money is there to strengthen in January, in the summer, and we are planning, we are looking, we are finding our targets, but just before the transfer window ended no, they weren’t there, the ready-made players.”
The United boss admitted that misfiring forward Marcus Rashford, who has scored just three goals for the team this season, needed a break but injuries to other players had prevented that.
“Marcus’s movement is great, but maybe we just need to give him a game or two of rest because he’s played a lot,” said the Norwegian.
“Sometimes, because he’s a young boy with lots of expectations on his shoulders, he’s played four or five seasons now, and yet he’s still not even 22 yet.”
And he admitted United faced a daunting task in trying to slow Liverpool’s charge towards their first top-flight title since 1990.
“There’s a lot of pieces in that puzzle that have to be in place,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready and I think the players are mentally prepared for this one. Of course, the fans will always be behind our backs.”
I can’t see Liverpool coming to park the bus — that’s just not in their mentality,” he added. “So I can see it being an open game, which will suit us.”