CRISTIANO RONALDO is the last piece in the jigsaw.
Now the pressure is on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win that Premier League title — and he loves it.
Solskjaer said: “At Manchester United you want that pressure. As a player, coach or manager, if you want an easy life you go mid-table somewhere.
“No, we want that pressure. We feel it but that makes you feel alive.”
He positively beamed as he said it while preparing to put out probably the best Manchester United team in over a decade against Newcastle.
Solskjaer found a sleeping giant when he took charge in December 2018.
Now he believes he has a force to take on any challenges. He said: “We knew we had to rebuild. We were at a low point.
“Now I am looking around the squad, the bench, the young players coming through, this is a team, and I said it before we signed Cristiano, I don’t think anything is beyond these players.
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"We felt that we could compete for everything back in the day when I played. And I do feel I have a squad now that can complete at all levels. There are international players left, right and centre. Youth there as well.
“It feels good to have so many good players, and that is a position a manager of Manchester United likes to be in.”
He knows it is not just a question of naming an XI and telling them to go out and enjoy themselves, although Sir Alex Ferguson was able to do that many times.
Solskjaer has brought a team together with three new players in Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Ronaldo, and young ones evolving all the time.
He said: “You add quality players that gives you a better chance of course. Now we need to gel everyone.
“The mood is good. We have to have the same focus, every single one of us, to approach every game as the most important one.
“When you play you know there is competition for places, that’s healthy, we back each other, we are all here to win.”
Despite the Champions League, European Championship and World Cup winners he has in his squad he insists there are no egos, not even with Ronaldo.
He said: “It is not about whoever’s ego, scoring goals, me, me, me. No I’ve seen a group that knows we do this together.
“I have seen Cristiano coming in, he doesn’t want any special treatment, he wants to be part of the team, he knows what the team is, and he’s conducted himself really well.
“We know we’re still a work in progress, but Cristiano coming, that gives us another edge.
“He comes with his winning mentality, him and Raphael have won the Champions League a few times, they’ve won European Championships, World Cups. We are adding experience and quality that we didn’t have.”
Quality which he believes will rub off on a lot of the younger players raising the standards back to where they were in the glory days under Sir Alex.
Solskjaer added: “The young boys in this group have some unbelievable professionals to learn from. You have Cristiano, one of the best players of all time, Raphael, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes.
“So many players to learn from, how to deal with ups and downs in careers and how they prepare and how to act.
“When you have players like this, there is no hiding place because you’ll be told.
“If you don’t do the right thing you’ll be told.
“If Roy Keane saw me dip out of a tackle or not make the run, you were told.
“I ended up being one of them that told players I played with. That’s how it should be in Manchester United.
“You should have some experienced leaders there that can put the demands down. It wasn’t always Sir Alex and it can’t always be me, or the coaches.
“We are lucky that we have players like Harry Maguire, who has come in the last two years and been an unbelievable captain, as in how he has pulled everything together and stood tall in, call it, hard times.
“We are now in a position where the experience should be just dripping down to the boys, who have aspirations to be as good as these players we’re talking about.”
So it really is game on for a United side up against the title winners of the last two years, Manchester City and Liverpool, and the European champions, Chelsea, in a four-horse race for the title.
Solskjaer said: “It is now we all focus, go game by game, knowing that the challenge is there in the toughest league in the world, with two teams that have won the title in the last two years and the Champions League winners.
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“We know the competition is there. There is not a lot of room for errors.
“The pressure is a privilege.”
MAN UTD (likely): De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho, Ronaldo.
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