Gary Neville says that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must achieve success at Manchester United in the next 18 months or face the consequences.
Solskjaer has been with United for more than two years. Throughout his tenure, questions have been asked regarding his managerial qualities, especially during difficult periods last season.
However, now chasing down Manchester City and on the fringes of a title challenge, the doubts regarding Solskjaer have since subsided a little.
Neville always kept faith with his former teammate, and he praised the improvements the team has made under the Norwegian’s guidance. However, he now says that Solskjaer must ‘get there’ in the next 18 months as they look to challenge for a league title and other trophies.
“He knows the Manchester United standard,” he told The Webby and O’Neil YouTube channel. “Have we improved since he took over? Are we better to watch than the day he took over? Yes.
“Let’s go back to that last six months of Jose [Mourinho]. It was going pear-shaped. Let’s go back to that team and we had those players on the pitch. We had [Alexis] Sanchez. Sanchez is a great player, but you were looking at them and thinking, ‘I don’t like them’.
“And then now, I really like the players on the pitch. I like them. You might say, ‘all of them just need to go up a level,’ or ‘we need two or three more’.
“But the manager that has come in has improved the team – we’re better than we were. The positions in the league are getting back to a standard where they were in that season with Jose when they finished second. We need to win a trophy. The lads need to win a trophy. But we’re better and we like them more. It’s progression.
“It can’t stop cos we’re nowhere near where we need to be. But there is progression. And people say, ‘Ole’s this, Ole’s that’. He’s tough. He knows where he needs to get to. We’re better than we were, and in these next 18 months, he’s got to get there. He’s got to get there.
And if he doesn’t get there, he’ll have had three and a half years to get there, that’s enough time… So, things are better, but it’s whether they can go that final notch. Hopefully they will.”
Free Manchester United newsletter
Manchester United beat West Ham 1-0 in the FA Cup, thanks to Scott McTominay’s extra-time winner.
United sealed a spot in the cup quarter-finals with victory over David Moyes’ side at Old Trafford, and now they travel to West Brom in the league on Sunday.
MEN Sport will bring you all the build-up to and reaction from every United match. You can have it all delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our daily newsletter. Just put your email address in the sign-up box at the top of this article, or simply follow this link. It’s free and only takes a few seconds.
Solskjaer is yet to win a trophy as United manager but has a series of opportunities to do so during the final months of the season.
United currently sit eight points behind City. They can close that gap to five points with a win over West Brom. The Reds are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they will face Leicester City, and will fancy a deep run in the Europa League should they move past Real Sociedad in the Round of 32 stage.