Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his team have made “strides forward” this season despite their 2-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend.
Liverpool moved 16 points clear at the top of the table with that win on Sunday – and 30 points clear of fifth-placed United.
But Solskjaer was adamant his players showed signs of improvement at Anfield as they continue to chase a top-four finish this season.
“We’ve lost to Liverpool, a team that you all say are fantastic, and we’ve been in the game until the last kick of the ball,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Tuesday.
“For me, that’s strides forward. And of course we’re disappointed losing the game, we don’t want to be behind them in the league. But there were signs there that we are on the right track, definitely.”
Former club captain Gary Neville said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward should be held responsible for the club failing to win a league title since 2013 despite spending around 850 million pounds ($1.11 billion) on players.
Solskjaer said discussing the club’s recruitment policy is an unwelcome distraction ahead of Wednesday’s home match against Burnley.
“For me, now is not the time to speak about recruitment. We’re looking to the next game against Burnley,” the Norwegian head coach added.
“We’re always looking to improve the squad and to improve the club but for my mind, now is not the time, Gary, to start this discussion.”
United have been charged by the Football Association with failing to ensure their players “conducted themselves in an orderly fashion” against Liverpool.
The charge relates to an incident where a number of United players surrounded referee Craig Pawson after he had initially allowed a goal by Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.
The video assistant referee overturned the decision for a foul by Virgil van Dijk on United goalkeeper David de Gea in the build-up, and Solskjaer suggested the FA’s decision to charge his club was harsh.
“Maybe I shouldn’t talk too much about that,” he added.
“Let’s get that decision done but… sorry (press officer) Karen (Shotbolt). It(the goal)’s overturned. I reacted myself because everybody could see it was a foul.”