Solskjaer delighted with Manchester United's Champions League berth

Manchester United, which at one point looked doubtful of clinching even a Europa League berth, finished third to clinch a Champions League berth.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw the club's worst start to a Premier League campaign in 30 years but Manchester United ended the season strongly by finishing third.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on his team after it sealed a place in next season's Champions League with a nervy 2-0 win at Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League season.

United, which at one point looked doubtful of clinching even a Europa League berth, finished third after winning six and drawing three of its last nine league games.

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The result also confined fifth-placed Leicester to a place in Europe's second-tier competition after goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard gave United victory.

“We've come from way, way behind teams and gone past them,” Solskjaer told the BBC.

“We've shown that we've got the consistency, the right mentality. We're building a group and a performance culture here that we can be proud of.

“The players have shown their qualities as a group. They've taken on board what we want and they're looking more and more like a Manchester United team on the pitch. The environment there is so much better than it was before,” he added.

Centre back Harry Maguire, who became the Premier League's most expensive defender when he joined United from Leicester for 80 million pounds in July 2019, said United needed to be more consistent.

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“We were far too inconsistent at the start of the season, dropping silly points, the performances weren't good enough in parts of the games and wed get punished,” he told MUTV.

“As a club, thats where we expect to be. We expect to be in the Champions League but the last few years have been tough.

“At the start of the season, the majority of people didn't expect us to be in the top four come the end of the season. We've been a lot better of late and it shows the great character of this group.”

- Solskjaer says criticism made him stronger -

Solskjaer has said the criticism he faced at the start of the Premier League campaign only made him more determined to succeed.

Solskjaer oversaw the club's worst start to a top-flight campaign in 30 years but United ended the season strongly by finishing third.

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“I don't think many were predicting it, the predictions were for us to finish sixth or seventh,” Solskjaer, whose side went unbeaten in its last 14 league games, told reporters.

“I've always been made that way. If I'm getting criticised that makes me stronger in what I'm doing.

“We all have different ideas of management and I do it my way,” he stated.

Former United defender Gary Neville said the win to take third spot demonstrated progress but the club still needed to invest wisely in the transfer market.

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“They need more players in their squad,” Neville told Sky Sports. “The last time they finished in the top four was under Jose Mourinho and they spent 170 million pounds ($218 million) in that summer and didn't invest it wisely.”

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