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Ole: United are weaker


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepts Manchester United are not the force they once were, with the manager braced for more ups and downs as he waits for their younger players to "blossom".

Life since Alex Ferguson ended his medal-laden reign in 2013 has rarely been easy at Old Trafford. This looks set to be another uncomfortable campaign, with injuries already biting in areas where the squad is weakest and a lack of cutting edge playing a big part in their Premier League problems.

An inability to triumph away is also hampering United, with Thursday's goalless Europa League draw at AZ Alkmaar taking their winless streak on the road to a 10th successive match in all competitions.

Solskjaer is confident the poor run is not due to any psychological block and that an away win is imminent, but the 1999 treble hero also knows United cannot roll into town with the fear factor they once possessed.

"We're not in the '90s now so it's a different era, a different group that we're building," he said after the Europa League draw in The Hague. "We know there are going to be ups and downs. I'm ready to see these boys blossom.

"There's not many clubs with our stature that play the young players that we do. They'll have a chance to come through and we're sure that some of these will be part of a successful team."

Put to Solskjaer that opponents do not appear intimidated by United, he said: "I can't think about what anyone else is thinking about us. We're working to improve and that's what we have to do."

United could do with a shot in the arm before the international break, and Sunday's trip to struggling Newcastle looks as good an opportunity as any to win away.