(Reuters) – Manchester United must take “smart” decisions when signing new players during the close season and nurture their youth players so they can compete in the Premier League next season, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.
A brief resurgence under Solskjaer gave United hope of finishing in the top four but they failed to qualify for the Champions League after winning only two of their last eight games.
The 20-times league winners dropped down to sixth as a result and cannot finish higher than fifth on the final day. Solskjaer said player injuries in the final weeks of the season cost United a top four spot.
“We’ve got to recruit smart, we’ve got to keep blooding the youngsters and we’ll be fine,” Solskjaer told MUTV at the club’s end-of-season awards night.
“This club is huge and the media and everyone’s criticising us as soon as they’ve got a chance. We got a few injuries and it’s been ups and downs for the last two months, but that’s football.
“It’s not like (playing the video game) Football Manager. You’ve got to deal with different stuff outside of football as well… But I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a great challenge. I haven’t gone to bed one night worrying about what’s going to happen.”
Defender Luke Shaw was named the club’s player of the year but the English left back said he would trade the award for a successful season with the team.
“It’s obviously nice for me but I’d rather win no trophies and have a better season as a team,” Shaw said. “It’s nice but we need to move on and focus on next season and what’s to come.
“I think for me personally it’s probably been my best season since I’ve been here. I would have rather it had been a better season for the team but it wasn’t meant to be.”
United host relegated Cardiff City on Sunday in their final game of the season.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)