Gary Pallister says Manchester United must continue to aim high wherever they finish on the Premier League ladder this season, and has also backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring a more recognised style of play back to Old Trafford.
United prepare to host Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday needing three points to put themselves back into a good position in the race for Champions League football after a 4-0 drubbing at Everton on Sunday.
And, with Solskjaer refusing to lower expectations, former United centre-back Pallister agrees that the club thrive on aiming for the top of the game.
“United should be aiming high, there’s no doubt about it,” Pallister told Goal. “They’re one of the richest clubs in the world, one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it’s only right that Manchester United has them expectations.
“We’ve taken knocks over previous seasons and we’ve needed a manager who understands what Manchester United’s all about. That’s not to say that that’s the be-all and end-all, you’ve still got to manage the club and do the right things and make the big decisions, but that’s something Ole’s probably going to be learning as he goes along.
“He does understand the history and the tradition, but it’s not just the history and tradition. The fact that we are one of the richest clubs in the world, the biggest clubs in the world, means that we should be playing a brand of football that is entertaining and successful, and not being intimidated wherever we go whether it be Man City or Liverpool, going there with the idea that we can win these games.”
And Pallister adds that United’s players, who underperformed so badly at Goodison Park on Sunday, should really be licking their lips at the prospect of playing under Solskjaer.
“If I was a player under Ole I think I’d be quite excited. He gives players the freedom, and I think that’s what’s been lacking at Manchester United,” says Pallister. “If you’re supposedly among the best players in the world and you come in to Manchester United and you find things a little bit negative it takes the fun out of the football.
“These guys are very talented players, that’s why they signed for Manchester United, so they need to be given the freedom to go and showcase their talents, and I think that’s what Ole’s trying to do
“I think everybody’s going to be better for a pre-season with Ole, Ole’s going to be better for working with these players for six months or whatever it is by the end of the season. I expect work to be done on the squad in the summer as even if you’re successful you have to work on the squad season upon season.
“Sir Alex Ferguson did that, it didn’t matter how successful we were, he was always looking to bring players in. So that’s not going to change, it’s then just the kind of quality you can bring into the club.”
Pallister was speaking at the Coca-Cola Premier League Trophy Tour which is shining a light on those who play a part in helping players reach the top of the game, and the former England defender recalls numerous key people in his football career.
“My parents bought me football boots, they took me to training. Whether basketball, cricket, football, athletics, I was doing everything and my parents were really supportive with that.
“My schoolmaster was very influential in my footballing career, he changed me from being a centre-forward at age 15 to being a centre-half at age 16, which fundamentally took me down the professional route so I’m thankful to him. And then Willie Maddren was the guy who brought me into the professional game when he was manager at Middlesbrough when I arrived as a 19-year-old. He had the time to give me one-on-one training sessions in afternoons after morning training.”