The Red Devils boss is looking for his squad to prove themselves deserving of a place at Old Trafford and capable of leading the club forward
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is challenging his Manchester United players to prove themselves deserving of a leading role in an “exciting future” for the club.
Another new era has been welcomed in at Old Trafford under the guidance of the 1999 Treble winner.
Solskjaer took the reins midway through the 2018-19 campaign, but is looking to put his own stamp on things this season.
He has brought in players during the summer transfer window, including £80 million ($97m) defender Harry Maguire, and is placing greater emphasis on youth and home-grown talent.
Plenty of fans are buying into that philosophy and the hope is that a star-studded squad will also toe the line and guide the Red Devils back to where they believe they belong.
Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “The players have a chance every day to prove you should be part of this exciting future, and to be part of this club you have to give everything.
“The attitude of every single one of the lads this season has been spot on. That’s been maybe the most encouraging part for me.
“You expect them to come in on the first day and have loads of energy and focus. They were all fit so we could start on a high level.
“But now, when the league begins, you’re picking a team and some players are not starting, but the reaction from the boys who didn’t play [against Chelsea] has been very good as well, so it’s been a competitive week.”
Solskjaer saw United stumble over the finishing line last season, ending in sixth spot and without Champions League football, but opened 2019-20 with a clinical 4-0 win over Chelsea.
“I’ve always said that as long as I’m here I’m going to enjoy it,” the man at the helm added.
“I’m going to do my utmost to help this club move forward in the way I believe we should do things. I think we did it the right way [against Chelsea]. We did it with the right intentions and, when you do that, you’re a happy manager.
“When you lose a game you start questioning everything, but it’s also important that we know we have to improve all the time, because the other teams will always improve as well. But for myself, yeah, I did enjoy Sunday.”
One of many positives for United against Chelsea was summer signing Daniel James, who stepped off the bench to record his first competitive goal for the club.
Solskjaer is delighted for the 21-year-old, who experienced a testing summer which delivered a big-money move to Old Trafford and the tragic passing of his father.
“You could see it meant the world to him,” Solskjaer said of a Wales international considered to be displaying the kind of attitude that the Red Devils are now demanding.
“He’s had a summer of mixed emotions and experiences. You could see the way he celebrated, he’s been wanting that.
“I know for a fact after talking to him that it meant a lot for him. Since Daniel came in, he has proved to everyone that he is the type of player we want. He’s so hard-working. I think he set the standard straight away.
“On his first day, he made a recovery run that was a fifty-yard run. He won the ball, played it out to a team-mate, ran forward, had a chance blocked, won it back and within 10 seconds had scored. Everyone was saying, ‘Yeah, that’s the boy we want in our team’.”