Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have addressed their squad balance with four signings this calendar year.
United recruited Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, both 21 at the time, in Solskjaer’s first summer transfer window and Harry Maguire was 26 at the time of his £80million arrival in the same window.
Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Alexis Sanchez left United on loan or permanently in Solskjaer’s first year and all were either already in their 30s or about to turn 30.
Despite outlining a preference for targets aged between 23 and 28, United bought Edinson Cavani, 33, on deadline day in October, having signed the 31-year-old striker Odion Ighalo on loan in January.
Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles fall into United’s preferred age bracket but are more seasoned players than Wan-Bissaka and James, who had played just 18 months of senior football prior to their transfers.
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Manchester United were hit by a double Neymar sucker-punch as they lost 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in their crucial Champions League match on Wednesday.
It means United travel to Germany needing a point from their final group match against RB Leipzig to qualify for the last 16.
Before then, the Reds have a tricky Premier League trip to West Ham to negotiate at the weekend.
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“Last season, we were the youngest team in the Premier League,” Solskjaer explained. “And we have been looking at ways to improve the squad, either being young talent or experienced ones, or the likes of Bruno.
“With the signings of Bruno, Donny, Alex and Edinson the balance of the squad has been improved [with] experience.
“With Edinson: one, his positioning, because he’s a centre forward, he’s a different type of centre forward and we can play a different way. And his experience in world football: he has come in and shown the young lads how to live your life and last long in your career.”
Solskjaer comes up against former United manager David Moyes on Saturday with West Ham fifth in the Premier League table. Moyes was sacked less than 10 months into a six-year contract by United and has since claimed he needed more time despite a trophyless 2013-14 in which United failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 19 years.
Solskjaer is approaching the second anniversary of his appointment as United manager, initially on a caretaker basis, but has not discussed the uniqueness of the role with one of his predecessors.
“I haven’t sat down and had discussions with David, no,” Solskjaer said. “When you’re here, it’s the biggest club in the world and it’s a different animal to anything else.
“But we’ve had other discussions and I really admire David for what he’s done in his career. And you see now the way West Ham perform and the results they’re getting shows his qualities.”
United lost for the fourth time at Old Trafford this term to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek but have won their last eight away games in the league – a club record.
The last time United lost away from home in the Premier League was at Anfield on January 16 and Solskjaer believes they are showing signs of consistency.
“Depends on how many games do you want to go back? Football is a game with human beings and they live their own lives, we’ve played against some fantastic teams,” he added.
“Go 40 games back we’re one of the most consistent teams, performance-wise, in the Premier League, so you’re disappointed when you lose a game. I thought we played really well on Wednesday, and it’s fine margins at times that decide if you win or lose.
“The PSG game was miles better than West Brom, for example, but you win against West Brom and you don’t get three points against PSG. I think we’re getting less bad performances and getting more and more consistent.
“You can never control the result in the end, that’s decided by margins.”