Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have not had the opportunity to “exploit” the transfer window and regrets his wording at the end of last season.
The United boss claimed in April the club may be able to profit on the uncertainty around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic and use their financial might in the market.
But ahead of Monday’s deadline, Solskjaer’s side have made only a single signing, bringing in Donny van de Beek from Ajax to boost a midfield that was already seen as their greatest strength.
Persistent links with Jadon Sancho have not resulted in a deal with Borussia Dortmund, with United now said to be interested in a host of alternatives – including Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic.
Given the lack of movement, Solskjaer acknowledges his earlier assertion was wrong.
“I think my wording during lockdown, ‘exploit’, was a bad word by me,” he said ahead of United’s game against Tottenham. “I didn’t mean in that respect.
“There might be clubs out there, players out there, who have to move because of the situation. It might be something interesting for us. At the moment, there have not been those situations.
“Of course, we’ve lost loads of money – as the other clubs have as well.”
Solskjaer said he was reluctant to discuss transfers ahead of such a key match but fielded several questions on the matter, choosing instead to highlight United’s squad depth even without signings.
“We’ve got a big squad,” he said. “The performances last season didn’t warrant me giving too many of them more options.
“We’re working hard to get better with the players we’ve got,” says Ole.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 2, 2020
“I think the 11, 12, 13 players who really played and really played well deserved to play. When you don’t play, you don’t get the fitness or sharpness you need to knock on the door to get into the team.
“It’s a different scenario now after two games. I’ve seen a lot of the other players who didn’t play too much last season performing very well.”
Indeed, Solskjaer added that “results” are “the only way to affect the mood in the club”.
But the United boss still hinted at a desire to see arrivals in the coming days, although he said his thinking was not impacted by big spending at Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton.
“Of course, the transfer window is still open for a little while,” Solskjaer said. “The club has been working and they know my view. We’re here to strengthen it in the long term as well.
“I’m not going to say what’s acceptable for other clubs and teams in this difficult period. We’ll tell you when and if something happens.”
Despite his defence of United’s work, Solskjaer took no issue with former team-mates – including Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville and Darren Fletcher – criticising the club’s failings in their new roles as pundits.
“Patrice, Rio, Gary, Fletch have always been welcome here to talk to me instead, but they’re doing their jobs,” the manager said. “It’s their jobs, so we can allow them to do their jobs.
“We’re all wanting Man United as high as possible. It’s my job. That’s what I’m working with.”