It is harder to win trophies now than during the glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson, says Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United won 38 trophies – including 13 Premier League titles – in Ferguson’s 26-and-a-half years as manager.
However, they have won just three trophies in seven seasons since Ferguson retired in 2013.
“We’ve got to be honest enough to say it is more difficult now,” said Solskjaer.
This season’s Premier League title has been won by Liverpool, who became English champions for the first time in 30 years when nearest rivals Manchester City lost at Chelsea on Thursday.
Since Ferguson left, United have won the FA Cup in 2015-16, the Europa League in 2016-17 and the EFL Cup in 2017.
They are now aiming to reach the FA Cup semi-finals by beating Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.
“We’ve always had challengers, whether it was Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool. But most of the time it was just one of them challenging us,” Solskjaer said.
“Finishing third wasn’t normal. Now there are at least four, maybe five teams that can win the league and the cups.
“For me, every time you see anyone else lift the trophy, it hurts. I reckon that’s the feeling for everyone associated with Manchester United.”
United have improved significantly since the signing of Bruno Fernandes in January and are currently on a 13-match unbeaten run.
It is their longest since a 17-game sequence during Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge.
They have already extended striker Odion Ighalo’s loan to the end of January 2021 and, under normal circumstances, would expect to make further signings in the summer.
Solskjaer is known to be a huge admirer of Borussia Dortmund’s England international Jadon Sancho.
However, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has already said United are not immune from the financial issues affecting virtually every other top-flight club and Solskjaer explained why.
“We need to know the real effects of the pandemic to know what kind of financial state we are in,” he said.
“We are a financially strong club but we are also probably being hit more than anybody else.
“Let’s see how quickly we can get our fans back into the stadium and, of course, league position is going to be important for us this season.
“If we can get a trophy, the Europa League will also qualify us for the Champions League. There’s still a lot of uncertainty and these three or four months, every businessman in the world is still unsure what the effect will be.”