Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has never pressed “any panic button” at Manchester United, even when there was talk of Mauricio Pochettino taking his job, with his remit at Old Trafford having always been a “long-term” one.
The 1999 Treble winner returned to familiar surroundings in December 2018 when the Red Devils took the decision to part company with Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer was initially handed the reins on an interim basis, but did enough during the early weeks of his tenure to land a three-year contract.
His honeymoon period quickly became a nightmare, with United regressing again to see uncomfortable questions asked of a relatively inexperienced coach.
Various high-profile names were linked with the most demanding of managerial roles, with Pochettino coming onto the market after he was relieved of his duties at Tottenham.
United, though, kept faith with Solskjaer and have seen their patience rewarded with a climb to the top of the Premier League table.
Value has been found in recent transfer markets, while the likes of Paul Pogba are starting to deliver on expectations after several seasons of scratching around for form.
Solskjaer is eager to point out that it was always going to take time for the Red Devils to get things right, with everyone connected with the club aware of the need to avoid any kneejerk reactions.
“I never thought it would be easy,” the Norwegian told Dagbladet TV of his experiences back at Old Trafford.
“It is not a job where there is one way. You have challenges every single day. There are many challenges that you do not see. But working with people, and with the club that has given me so much, I thrive very, very well with that.”
Solskjaer added on the speculation that has surrounded his future at times: “We did not press any panic button. We have had one focus all along: That this is a long-term project.
“We think about the club's best and what we'll look like in a little while. We have had faith in what we work with. We know what we want to look like. Then we also know that individual matches we cannot always control the outcome. But you have to control the process, and I think we do.”
Many have suggested that United’s transformation could be completed this season by capturing a first league title in eight years, but Solskjaer is refusing to get carried away with just 17 games taken in.
He added, with a trip to defending champions Liverpool next up for the Red Devils: “We won the title in 2013. The last season of Ferguson. That's what counts. It is not whether you are at the top of the table in the middle of a season or at the start of the season. We do not think so much about just that.
“What we are thinking about is that we are getting better and better all the time. We have built a stronger squad. We have a squad that can compete higher up the table.”