Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted it hurt to see bitter rivals Liverpool end their long wait for a league title, but the Manchester United manager believes it will be tough for them to match Sir Alex Ferguson’s period of prolonged success.
After 30 topsy-turvy years at Anfield, the Reds finally secured the league crown once again after nearest challengers – and reigning Premier League champions – Manchester City lost 2-1 at Chelsea on Thursday evening.
Liverpool’s 19th title triumph sparked wild celebrations, leaving them one behind United’s record haul that has not been added to since Ferguson retired as champion in 2013.
“First of all, any team that wins the championship and a Premier League deserve it and they deserve credit,” Solskjaer, a multiple league winner as a United player, said.
“It’s a hard league to win, so well done to Jurgen and his players.
“For me, every time you see anyone else lift the trophy it hurts. I reckon that’s the feeling everyone associated with Man United – all players, staff and supporters.
“Of course we want to get back to winning ways and that’s our challenge.”
United are on an impressive 13-match run in all competitions but sit fifth in the Premier League and an eye-popping 37 points behind Liverpool – a remarkable campaign after such a long wait for the title.
United had to wait 26 years for a title before winning 13 under Ferguson, but, as another season without a title challenge at Old Trafford goes by, Solskjaer finds it hard to believe Klopp can do similar.
“The run of titles that we won under Sir Alex, I don’t think that’s going to be easy for anyone to emulate and to copy,” he said.
“Sir Alex was a master of staying at the top, so, for me, our challenge is to make sure it doesn’t go say 26 years until the next time we win it or even more.
“We’re going to do everything we can to shorten the distance or go past them of course.”
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, Klopp’s predecessor, almost won the title in the 2013-14 season.
He paid tribute to the German and the club’s owners Fenway Sports group.
“It’s an incredible moment in history,” he said.
“We obviously went very close in my time there although the club was in a different moment.
“I am delighted for Jurgen, he has done a brilliant job, particularly in these last couple of years when they’ve gone so close.
“I’m also pleased for the ownership. FSG came into football new. They have developed and learnt everything about the game in England.
“They are fantastic owners and deserve that success as well.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was also full of praise.
“With my connections with Manchester, it’s sometimes difficult to say, but they have been truly fantastic in everything they have done,” he said.
“I was playing the last time they won it – it seems a long time ago. For them to be waiting 30 years, it just shows you how difficult it is.”
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