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Sport Ole: CL not essential to attract players to Utd

05:55  17 february  2020
05:55  17 february  2020 Source:   skysports.com

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want to join Man United They failed to make top four last season and sit outside Champions League spotsSolskjaer has transfer plans for January but it remains to be seen if he has fundsUnited want to sign Donny van de Beek, Saul Niguez and Braut Erling Haaland Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to lead Manchester United back to the Champions League in his first full season in charge © Getty Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to lead Manchester United back to the Champions League in his first full season in charge

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Champions League qualification is not “the be all and end all” for Manchester United to sign their preferred transfer targets.

United trail fourth-placed Chelsea by six points ahead of the two clubs meeting at Stamford Bridge on Monday, live on Sky Sports, in a pivotal game in their pursuit of a return to Europe's top-tier club competition.

Solskjaer, who signed Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo in January, could also qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, which they will resume against Club Brugge in the last 32 on Thursday.

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Ole : CL not essential to attract players to Utd . Arteta: CL depends on Arsenal, not City.

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"The Champions League gives the club resources, more money, that is one thing," said Solskjaer.

"It is a prestigious tournament to be in of course.

"If we play well the rest of the season and players that we might want are impressed by that it might be easier to convince them.

"So this season with the Europa League, if next season is with or without Champions League I wouldn't say that is the be all and end all for a player to sign for us."

United have only once played back-to-back seasons in Europe's second-tier competition in 2015-16 and then 2016-17 - the season they won the Europa League under Solskjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho.

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Solskjaer says Paul Pogba has taken his cast off as he continues his recovery programme from an ankle injury and is hopeful he will be back playing "soon".

a close up of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Mason Greenwood has scored 10 goals in 32 appearances for the senior side this season © Getty Mason Greenwood has scored 10 goals in 32 appearances for the senior side this season

The World Cup winner has made just eight appearances so far this season due to injury.

Asked whether it has been a disastrous campaign for the France international, Solskjaer replied: "You are not going to get that headline from me!

"As a player the last thing you want to be is injured and not being able to contribute to your team.

"Paul is a footballer and he wants to play football. He knows that he has to work hard now to get back to his best.

"He has been out for so long. It is a challenge for him to get back to his shape.

Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard are posing for a picture: Manchester United went to Malaga during their winter break © Getty Manchester United went to Malaga during their winter break "I have been injured for a long time myself. It is a difficult period of your career but it is part and parcel of being a player. You are always running the risk of being injured."

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Manchester United need Champions League football in order to attract a calibre of player that befits the history of the club, according to Ole Gunnar “To play in the Champions League for Man Utd , there aren't many bigger things,” he told United ’s official website. “We know that we cannot just live

He added: "Of course I would like to say that as soon as he gets fits he will be good enough to play for the team. I am sure that Paul is desperate to play for us again."

'Players have stepped up in Pogba's absence'

Solskjaer also believes several of his players have stepped up in the absence of Pogba this season and other key injury absentees, including Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay.

"Paul is an important player for us but also [we have learned] so much about the others as well," he said.

Paul Pogba wearing a red shirt: Paul Pogba, who will have one year left on his contract at the end of the season, has not started a match for United since September © Getty Paul Pogba, who will have one year left on his contract at the end of the season, has not started a match for United since September "Some other players have really stepped up and taken on this responsibility and shown what they can be and what they are for Manchester United.

"It is always a chance but it is unfortunate that you get some of your best players injured of course. But that is just part of being here.

"You can't just feel sorry for yourself because we have had all these injuries. We are building to get a squad that can cope with this."

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Pogba's agent Raiola told Sky Sports News last week that Italy is "like a second home" for the 26-year-old, with the super-agent widely quoted by Italian media on Thursday as saying the France international "would not dislike" a return to Juventus.

"I have not spoken to Mino that is for sure," Solskjaer said.

"I haven't sat down with Paul to tell him what his agent should say, but Paul is our player. Not Mino's."

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