The last time Manchester United hosted Fulham, the home side looked very different.
With Jose Mourinho at the helm, United’s team on December 8, 2018 featured a number of players who have since left the club.
On Tuesday evening, Fulham will return to Old Trafford for the first time since that match, which ended 4-1 in favour of the Red Devils, and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been reflecting on the changes that he’s overseen in the past two and a half years.
Mourinho was sacked 10 days after the win over Fulham and was replaced by Solskjaer, initially on an interim basis before the Norwegian was handed a permanent deal in March 2019.
Solskjaer didn’t hesitate to move on a number of the players that started against Fulham in 2018; such as Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera.
“Every manager has their own focus and priorities,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
Solskjaer on Mourinho’s United
“Those players are top players, top professionals. You can look at them and wish them all the best. But I made a decision, together with the club, that I wanted to have a different team.
“I am not the one to talk about the evolution and compare one team to another. The proof is in the results. That is the only way we can convince the fans that we are doing the right thing. But, for me, the team now is looking more like a team that I feel responsible for.”
Solskjaer was reluctant to contrast his style of management with Mourinho’s but the current United boss did hint at what the team lacked under his predecessor.
According to Solskjaer, United lacked the urgency to press opponents at the time when he took over from Mourinho.
“You saw the creativity and imagination in that game,” Solskjaer said.
“If we can get that creativity and imagination but with the pressing that I felt we lacked at that time, then I will be happy.”