Solskjaer: We have to be the best possible United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t be drawn on comparing Manchester United to Premier League leaders Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s derby.
The Blues have raced into a 14-point lead at the summit of the table, with 11 games to play, having won all 21 of their games in all competitions since a 1-1 draw with West Brom a week before Christmas.
Pep Guardiola’s side will take a significant leap towards a third title in four years with a positive result at the Etihad Stadium.
Although we are still City’s closest challengers, United’s results have dipped in recent weeks and the boss wants us to worry about ourselves, as he eyes up a strong end to the season in the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and UEFA Europa League.
“Our focus is just on this one game and not where we are going to end up,” Solskjaer told reporters on his pre-match press conference video call.
“We just have to be the best possible Man United and end up trying to improve on last season, of course.
“That means moving up the table, getting more points, hopefully challenging or getting to a final and [then] getting a trophy.
“What other teams do, we can’t control. We just have to keep at it ourselves, challenge ourselves and, of course, at the moment they’re ahead of us by a fair distance.
“Sunday’s a good chance to test ourselves against a good team.”
United are aiming to avoid a fourth consecutive goalless draw in all competitions, something that has never been recorded in the club’s history.
However, the Reds travel to the other side of the city looking to extend a 21-match unbeaten away league run which only two sides can beat in 133 years of top-flight football.
Ole also highlights recent big wins against Southampton and Real Sociedad as he argues that quality of opposition, rather than performances, have been a factor in our recent draws.
“It comes from everyone. We had a week without scoring a goal. It’s not like we’ve gone six weeks with bad form,” added Ole.
“It’s not long ago we beat Southampton 9-0 and beat [Real] Sociedad 4-0, a [Real] Sociedad team that should have won against Real Madrid [on Monday].
“It’s also about the opposition we’re playing, the amount of games can have an effect, but for me I’m not buying into the narrative that we’ve sort of had a dip in form.
“Yeah, we haven’t had that bit of margins with us to score the first goals in the games. Three 0-0s is not really us or what we set out to do.
“But we’ve defended well and just lacked that little spark to create enough chances to score. But I don’t buy the “out of form” one.”