Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his Manchester United players to experience the drug of winning a trophy – so they can never do without the fix.
Solskjaer likened winning a trophy to a drug, admitting the first Premier League title he won with United in 1997 left him craving more of the same thing.
On Wednesday Solskajer’s United side aim to end a run of three semi-final defeats by overcoming neighbours Manchester City to reach the Carabao Cup final.
And Solskajer told his players once they get to a final and win a trophy, the feeling will become so addictive they will be relentless in their pursuit of it.
“We want to go one step further,” said Solskjaer. “I speak from my own experience. When I won the first League at Manchester United, it becomes a drug, celebrating with your team-mates on the pitch with a trophy.
“We won it when Wimbledon took points off Liverpool in 1997 but we still had a celebration and it becomes a thing. You become addicted to winning.”
Solskjaer also referenced United’s League Cup win of 2006, which was the launchpad for that side to go on and win three straight titles, as well as the Champions League.
That side contained Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, as well as Solskjaer, who was coming to the end of his United playing career,
“That win, with Patrice and Nemanja, was huge for them and that team,” said Solskjaer. “They’ve spoken about it.
“I was on my way out. We won the league the year after and I had to retire after that. But that team grew so much from those years.
“We’ve added some players in our group that hopefully can give us that extra edge in the semis, compared to last season.”
After reaching the semi-finals in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League last season, Solskajer believes his players are now better equipped to take the next step.
“They’re fine margins when you get to a semi,” said Solskjaer. “Even against Sevilla, I thought we played one of our best games.
“We were very close to getting through against a very difficult side and hopefully we’ve learned. But it’s not about learning.
“Sometimes it’s about fine margins and sometimes it’s about quality. We’re a better team now than we were six months or 12 months back. Hopefully we’ve got the quality when it matters, when we’ve got a chance or a one-v-one and defenders make a block or we defend well.
“When you reach a semi, you earn the right to win a trophy by going through.
“You play against more difficult opponents every game and, naturally, a semi is harder than a quarter-final.
“The quarter-final a few weeks back against Everton was fantastic for us. We showed the quality and strength in depth and hopefully we can make it one step further this time.”
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