Solskjaer: My team has a lot to play for
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side can continue to grow as we begin to move into the latter months of the season.
The Reds are second in the Premier League behind rivals Manchester City, with a game against them to come in a fortnight's time, and are still in both the Europa League and Emirates FA Cup.
When asked in his post-match press conference how important our 3-1 win over Newcastle United was, Solskjaer said:
“We’ve had a couple of setbacks, definitely, against West Brom and Sheffield United.
“We could look back at those games and I could sit here and discuss the reasons why we didn’t get the points that we deserved, but that’s not what I want to do.
“For me, the boys are really focused, and really good at recovering mentally and physically. It’s not easy, I know that. We played on Thursday night and that’s maybe why we needed 45 minutes to get going [against Newcastle].”
Sunday's win over Steve Bruce’s side followed Thursday's 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad. That strong European showing in Turin was a big improvement on the recent domestic displays against West Brom and Everton in which four Premier League points were dropped but Solskjaer denies any notion that a different competition is met with a different mindset.
“You can’t really walk into a stadium and think ‘we’re playing in the Premier League, so we’re in bad form’ or ‘we’re playing in the Europa League, so we’re in great form.'
“To build momentum, you just have to go on the pitch and feel that you’re playing well. That's important,” he added.
United are currently 10 points behind league leaders City, who have imperiously notched 18 consecutive victories in all competitions since drawing 0-0 with the Reds on 12 December and then 1-1 at home to West Brom three days later.
But with an opportunity to get three points closer when the Manchester clubs meet on 7 March, it's understandable when Ole says of the title race:
“I’m never going to say that it’s done until it’s done.
“You’ve seen so many examples of teams that just hang in there and keep working, doing their own jobs, and something might happen. It’s not something we think about, we just think about our own performances and our own games.
“That’s the only thing that we can control, but it’s not like we’re going to think ‘we’ll just lose this game because there’s no point.' We have loads to play for and as a team we have loads to improve on.”
UNITED'S NEXT FOUR FIXTURES
Thurs 25 Feb, 20:00 GMT: Real Sociedad (H), Europa League
Sun 28 Feb, 16:30 GMT: Chelsea (A), Premier League
Weds 3 March, 20:15 GMT: Crystal Palace (A), Premier League
Sun 7 March, 16:30 GMT: Manchester City (A), Premier League
View the full schedule at www.manutd.com/fixtures.