Solskjaer: United on the brink of greatness

April 19, 2006

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is convinced Manchester United are on the brink of winning championships again.

Barring a complete Chelsea collapse over the final three games of the campaign, United will next month end a third season in succession without the Premier League title.

Not even a run of 10 wins and a draw from their last 11 outings has been enough to see the Red Devils overhaul Jose Mourinho's men and, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich vowing to spend even more of his millions on reinforcements this summer, the task of wresting the crown away from Stamford Bridge next term is unlikely to become any easier for United.

Solskjaer accepts a third season without a major honour is disappointing for the Old Trafford outfit but, with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo continuing their development, the Norwegian forward is confident the good times are about to return.

'Manchester United have to deliver,' said the 33-year-old. 'Any season without a trophy is a disappointing one for us.

'I have been here for 10 seasons now and the last three we have been trailing behind Arsenal and Chelsea.

'But the manager is building a good, young team. There are so many interesting and exciting players coming through I really feel we are coming back again.

'If they fulfil their potential, Wayne and Cristiano will be among the best players in the world and this is the stage for them to perform.'

Solskjaer was speaking at the launch of the 'Manchester United Opus', an 800-page half-metre square document which weighs in at over 35kgs.

Containing over 400,000 words and 2,000 pictures, it details United's history in minute detail and, with only 10,000 copies being produced, the club are confident the £3,000 purchase price will not prevent the work become a collector's item.

The first Opus, signed by every current member of the United squad, plus other notable figures from the club's past, will be auctioned on behalf of Unicef in September and has already attracted an incredible reserve price of £250,000.

For most ordinary fans, it is the chapters in United's history still to be written which are of most interest and renewed speculation linking Ruud van Nistelrooy with a move away from Old Trafford in the summer is bound to be greeted with mixed emotions.

While Van Nistelrooy remains hugely popular among the United support, most also recognise Louis Saha's impressive recent contribution.

The prospect of the prolific Dutchman, who celebrates his 30th birthday on July 1, leaving is not one that will be welcomed but if it brings in the cash that could help Ferguson secure the midfield talent required to catch Chelsea, it could ultimately prove acceptable.

It has already been suggested Ferguson would be prepared to spend £8million on Villarreal playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme and bids for the likes of Mahamadou Diarra and Kevin Nolan could be in the offing should previous speculation be believed.

Though his own chapter in United's history has been stuck on a full stop for the best part of three seasons by persistent injury, Solskjaer is determined his contribution has not been concluded.

In signing a new two-year contract, the man who earned iconic status at United for his 1999 Champions League winner against Bayern Munich may have committed himself to a coaching role but he intends to prove a key member of Ferguson's playing squad too.

'I have had a few bad seasons but one of the key elements about being a Manchester United player is to never give in,' he said.

'The support I have received from everyone at the club has been terrific and I really just want to give it a go again.'