Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is excited for next Sunday's trip to Wembley Stadium and a reunion with a team he statistically excelled against as a Manchester United player.
But much has changed in the 20 years since of course and Solskjaer the caretaker manager will come up against a Spurs side who are genuine Premier League title contenders, a status they never achieved in the days when the Norwegian was netting goals and gathering medals. In the last three years, the North London outfit have not finished lower than third in the table - a spot they will still occupy at kick-off against United, after this weekend's break for the Emirates FA Cup in which Tottenham trounced Tranmere Rovers 7-0 away.
“Spurs at Wembley is a proper test so we are looking forward to that one,”admitted Ole in a press conference after the Reds' own cup win, 2-0 over Reading.
“That game will give me more of a reference as to where we are against the top boys because we are not happy about talking about sixth, fifth or fourth place. In a year or two the club needs to move on and up the table.”
“Going down to Cardiff in the first game was not easy,”reflected Ole,
“and then at home you are expected to beat Bournemouth and Huddersfield. But I have played in games before where we have lost games at home, so there are no easy games in the Premier League.
Solskjaer's post-match press conferenceVideo
“Newcastle away was a professional performance, and against Reading it was never going to be easy after I made nine changes, but we have won all of the [games so far].”
The work towards win no.6 has shifted from the English winter to a week of warm weather in Dubai, with the Reds flying out from Manchester Airport just hours after Saturday's FA Cup victory at Old Trafford. It will give Solskjaer his longest stint of consecutive training days and some good opportunities to select 11 players to start against Tottenham from the 25 he has fielded so far.
“Everyone is considered,”said Ole, when asked if Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku could keep their places after the pair faced Reading.
Reds head to Dubai Gallery
See pics of the United squad preparing to fly from Manchester...
“It is down to what kind of tactics we decide [to use], who does well [in training] and who is fit when it comes to Sunday. Of course we have some players now getting their fitness work in.I know they are quality players and that’s three goals in three games now [for Lukaku], two as a sub and one today. I thought it was a fantastic goal, constructed by him and Alexis.
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Reds beat the Royals Gallery
The story of United's Emirates FA Cup win over Reading - in pics.