OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER says trophies are for egos and it is the league which shows real progress for a team.
Manchester United take on AC Milan in the second leg of their last 16 Europa League encounter on Thursday with the tie poised at 1-1 and have an FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester this weekend.
But the Red Devils boss says that even if they don’t win either that a second placed league finish will be real evidence they are on the right track.
Solskjaer said: “We are 12 points ahead of what we were at the same time in the league last season, of course we’re aiming to win trophies but as we’ve said sometimes a trophy can hide the other fact of what’s happening at the club.
“In the league position you see if you’re progressing really and sometimes in the cup tournaments you might be lucky or unlucky with draws, games decided on different factors.
“In the league position you see if there’s any progress for me, that’s always the bread and butter of the season, that you see how capable you are of coping with ups and downs.
“Any cup competition can give you a trophy but sometimes it’s more of an ego thing from other managers and clubs to finally win something.
“But we need to see progress and if we perform well enough the trophies will end up at the club again. It’s not like a trophy will say that we’re back, no."
Indeed, while Louis van Gaal won the FA Cup in 2016 he was sacked after finishing fifth in the league with a dull style of football.
Jose Mourinho won both the Carabao Cup and Europa League in 2016-17 but finished sixth in the league.
Solskjaer said: “Sometimes a cup competition can hide the fact that you are still struggling a bit.”
Mourinho famously sacrificed league games to get back in the Champions League through winning the Europa League.
Solskjaer said: “Every manager wants to win every game and we want to fight on every front.
CHELTENHAM SPECIAL OFFER: GET £110 IN FREE BETS
“Then it comes to a point in the season when you can’t win this or can’t achieve this success and sometimes you might sacrifice the league position to get a cup run towards the end.
“I haven’t been here and felt we can down prioritise any games yet we need to try and win every single game, every player needs to cope to learn with all the pressures and the standard and expectations. You’ll end up with trophies if you’re consistent enough anyway and sometimes lucky enough.”
While Mourinho finished second in his second season and reached an FA Cup final there was again question marks over the style and he soon started having issues with the board and falling out with key players like Paul Pogba.
Solskjaer does not have that problem with the spirit good on the end of a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
They have lost only once in the league since the beginning of November and ended champions elect Manchester City’s 21-game winning run with victory in the derby a week last Sunday.
Solskjaer said: “I think you have to say that when you see the culture and what happens every day I feel a lot of improvement in the everyday routine and every day work we do.
"The boys have taken on board what we want.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
Source: Read Full Article