May 10, 2019 / 1:29 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Man Utd need miracle to mount challenge next season-Solskjaer

(Adds Warnock quotes, details)

May 10 (Reuters) - Manchester United would need a "miraculous season" to be in the running for the Premier League title next year because of how much their rivals have improved, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday.

United are sixth in the standings with 66 points, 29 behind leaders Manchester City and 28 behind Liverpool going into their final game of the campaign against relegated Cardiff City on Sunday.

"I think I've been quite honest that challenging for the title next year would be a miraculous season because we're so far behind points-wise," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"Next season we have to close that gap, if we manage to get to February or March and still be close that's fantastic. If not this summer will also be about players that can last here for many years.

"We want to get back to where we used to be... it's going to be important we come together from the first day."

The Norwegian said at the club's end-of-season awards on Thursday night that they should invest wisely in the transfer market and nurture youth players to become competitive again.

"We've never been a readymade club. Cristiano Ronaldo was never readymade, Wayne Rooney was never readymade. Loads of the players that come here and developed into the top superstars that they have become," Solskjaer added.

"That's always going to be the model. We'll develop players because I've got the best staff, the best environment and the best supporters because they love players that excite them."

Meanwhile, Cardiff manager Neil Warnock is determined to get financial assurances he believes are crucial for the Welsh club to mount a promotion challenge in the Championship next season.

After Cardiff's Premier League relegation last weekend, Warnock said he had "no idea" where he would be next season but the 70-year-old has since received the support of club owner Vincent Tan to stay.

"We will need two or three signings to get us up there and give us a shout because that's what I want to do," told Warnock reporters.

"I'm seeing Mehmet (Dalman, Cardiff chairman) and Ken (Choo, chief executive) on Monday. We're having a full day together, discussing all aspects of the club.

"I think we've arrived as a football club this year. We're a big club now and we've got to think big now." (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Keith Weir and Christian Radnedge)

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