Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Laments How Far and Long Man United are from Europe’s Elite

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With a brutally one-sided loss at FC Barcelona last night, Manchester United saw their European campaign come to an end in Catalonia. And that means back to back trophy-less seasons at Old Trafford, a phenomenon that’s become all too common since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

The result last night at Camp Nou conveyed just how wide the chasm of quality is right now between United and the world’s most elite clubs.

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“We have to aspire to get to that level of Barcelona, we can get there but we have loads of work to do. If we want to get back to Man Utd’s true level, true traditions, we have to challenge Barcelona,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the 3-0 (4-0 on aggregate) UCL quarterfinal defeat.

“They were a couple of levels above over the two games. We want to play these games again next year so we have a massive week coming up. There is no point dwelling on what could have been, we have to focus on that week.”

Solskjaer is right- United we have to regroup quickly and focus on the domestic squabbles. Right now the Red Devils are on the outside looking in when it comes to the top four.

sir alex old trafford man united

United need to stay in Champions League for next year in order to retain any hopes of attracting the world’s top players.

They have all the money in the world, but they just don’t have the same level of talent and/or accomplishment that teams like Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich etc. currently have. It’s going to take awhile to get there.

“We know there’s work to be done,” said Solskjaer.

“I’ve said all along this isn’t going to change overnight and the next few years are going to be massive to get to the level of Barcelona.”

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“We’re on with the job and we’ve spoken to the players about it as well.

“We need to create an environment of top, world-class attitude every single day. We’ve got a lot of good players to work with but as I have said, we have a rebuilding job. It started with coaches, players and of course one or two additions in the summer.”

Since Fergie stepped down in 2013, United have not even been in remote contention for the two big trophies (UCL, Premier League). This campaign will join last season, as well as 2013-14 and 2014-15 as seasons san silverware since Sir Alex stepped aside. The only trophies United has won since the club patriarch retired is the FA Cup (2016), Community Shield (2016), EFL Cup (2017) and Europa League (2017).

There are a ton of reasons for that, and the first place you can point fingers is up at the top in the front office (the Glazers and Ed Woodward), but that’s another article entirely for another time. Another factor to consider is that the club just doesn’t have that elite galactico kind of player that the big boys do.

While Paul Pogba and David de Gea are among the world’s best at their position, when on their game…they’re just not in that rarified air with the best of the best.

“I have to say Lionel Messi is top quality and he was the difference of course,” Solskjaer added.

“He’s different class, he and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best players of the last decade, everyone agrees on that one. Messi showed his quality.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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