What else could he say after his rivals outclassed him 2-0 on Wednesday, a club which wasn’t even in the same league — physically and metaphorically — for half of his tenure as a player for Manchester United?
“They had too much for us,” Solskjaer said after the loss. “They are the best team in the country, they have set the standard in the last two seasons and I don’t know how many points they’ve taken. What Pep Guardiola has done with his players is remarkable and we are so close to it in the vicinity so we feel it every day.”
This was a different loss than the lackluster 4-0 blowout at the hands of Everton on Sunday, as United definitely worked hard but had little to offer in attack aside from a few choice Paul Pogba long balls and some wayward finishing from an industrious Jesse Lingard.
“There is a difference in quality,” Solskjaer said in another interview. “That is why they are top and we are where we are. Living in Manchester we cannot be happy with that. It is up to us to close that gap and overtake them.”
We bet every one those words felt like broken glass climbing out of Solskjaer’s throat.
It’s going to take a squad revolution and then time to settle into a new reality. United is probably at least another full season from contending with City, even given last season’s runner-up finish.
And that has to be weird for a manager who was used to seeing the noisy neighbors stationed in the Championship. Solskjaer knows he has a lot of work to do at Old Trafford. Will his bosses let him do it?