Ole: It’s important to hit the ground running

Friday 18 September 2020 22:30

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has emphasised the importance of starting the season in a positive manner, on the eve of our 2020/21 opener.

The Reds host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, hoping to take three points from our maiden match of the new term.

Ole’s men did just that last season when we beat Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day, but failure to pick up a win in our following three outings set the Reds back.

Amongst those was a 2-1 defeat to Palace in our second home match of the campaign, and Ole stated that his side must avoid a similarly slow start this season.
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“It’s important that we hit the ground running. We didn’t start the season well enough, the first seven or eight games of last season,” said the boss in Friday’s pre-match press conference.

“The first game was brilliant, but then we met Palace and we hit a little bit of a barrier there and after that we struggled. So this is a good chance for us to start well against a team that we know will make it difficult for us.

“They’ve got qualities at both ends of the pitch and they’ve got players who can score. That’s my main concern now.”

“The mood is very good but we had a bitter end to the season,” he continued. “We did well in chasing the pack, we got to the third position, but then the way we went out of Europe was a bit disappointing, so the boys are determined to put some of those wrongs right.

“At the moment, our focus is to start the league well because no one is going to win the league in the first two months, but you lay the foundation for how the season is going to pan out.”

Despite the slow start to last season, a strong finish from Ole’s men ensured we earned a Champions League place for this term.

While it was a significant points gap to the top two sides - Liverpool and Manchester City - in 2019/20, the boss believes we can greatly reduce that in the upcoming campaign and, perhaps, even overtake them.

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“The next step is to move closer to the top two teams and let’s see how much of that gap we can close realistically,” he told reporters, via video link.

“The two teams in front of us have been way in front of the rest. It’s a chasing pack and we want to be top of that chasing pack and, who knows, stranger things have happened in football [than us overtaking Liverpool or City].

“We need to start the league well and we have to be consistent and I don’t want to take anything away from this group because we’ve added some top personalities.

“We’ve got Dean [Henderson] in, we’ve got Donny [van de Beek] in, Paul [Pogba]’s fit now, Bruno [Fernandes]’s first game was in February so he hasn’t been here long. Eric Bailly has come back and is fit, and is looking really good. So we hope that we can move forward and who’s to say that we can’t?”

The new season is here! Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.