The Reds’ Champions League hopes were extinguished with a late slump that saw them finish comfortably outside the top four
Manchester United star Scott McTominay has called on his team to finish their underwhelming Premier League campaign on a high, while expressing his confidence that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can deliver success at Old Trafford.
United suffered a disastrous start to the season, losing five and drawing five of their opening 17 league games in a run that led to Jose Mourinho being sacked in his third term in charge before Christmas.
Solskjaer subsequently steadied the ship and was named permanent United boss after restoring the side’s top-four chances and taking them to the quarter finals of the Champions League.
But another dip in form in the Premier League’s final straight meant the Red Devils will not be in the top continental competition in 2019-20, having lost four of their last seven league matches to fall out of contention.
And prior to Sunday’s encounter against already relegated Cardiff City, the final match of a difficult season for the club, McTominay believes they must do better next time round.
“[Finishing well is] Very important. It’s not all doom and gloom,” the midfielder signalled to United Review ahead of Sunday’s kick-off at Old Trafford.
”We’ve got a manager in now who’s an absolute legend both on and off the pitch, and who’s United through and through. He’s smiling, bringing the team morale up, boosting everyone who might be a little bit low after a few bad results, but also being ruthless at the same time.
“If we don’t get results then something needs to change, and that’s the way Ole is working at the minute. As you could see at the start, it was incredible what he and the coaching staff were doing.
“The players were full of confidence and you always get different stages in the season where you have blips, and you might not quite be playing your best football, but it’s about maintaining things.
“We might get back in the dressing room and say that we’ve played well for 45 minutes or half an hour. Next season, it’s about playing well for 90 minutes, playing well for a whole season, those are the standards we need to be driving.
”Not just for a game or half a game, or the first half of the season, it has to be about longevity. Everyone has to stick together and it’s time to rebuild.“
United’s recent struggles have nevertheless been cause for celebration for McTominay, who netted his first Premier League goals in April’s defeat at the hand of Wolves and last week’s 1-1 draw against Huddersfield.
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And while his displays have seen him receive wide praise, the 22-year-old is determined to keep his head down and continue to establish himself in the first team.
“I just don’t really listen to too many people!” he added. “The only people I properly listen to are my manager, my coaches, my team-mates, my family and my friends. That’s it.
”Everyone at this football club is family and friends, so you listen to everybody here, but outside that I just feel like a lot gets said that’s noise between your ears that can distract you and throw you off track.
“The only thing you need to think about is playing football. That’s the be-all and end-all of a footballer’s life. The only thing you have to think about is going out on the pitch. If things aren’t right out there, you fix it.
”If things are going well, why are they going so well? You have to then keep those standards at that level. I feel like that’s the way it is. Player ratings and things like that, they aren’t something I’m interested in. All I’m interested in, in that sense, is what the manager thinks.“