Ready for City aggression

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leading training in Barcelona last week before United's 3-0 loss in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals to exit 4-0 on aggregate. They fared worse at the weekend, falling 4-0 at Everton in the Premier League and
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leading training in Barcelona last week before United's 3-0 loss in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals to exit 4-0 on aggregate. They fared worse at the weekend, falling 4-0 at Everton in the Premier League and the United manager says meeting local rivals and title holders City at home today is the perfect chance to get back on track.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Solskjaer has confidence in his United team, feels he is the right man to lead Devils' revival

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted he is still the right manager to deliver success at Manchester United despite last Sunday's shambolic 4-0 English Premier League defeat at Everton.

United produced their worst display under Solskjaer, who has overseen 25 matches in all competitions, initially as interim manager and then the permanent boss.

The Norwegian subsequently apologised to fans for his players' poor performance.

The loss was a huge blow to United's top-four hopes and left the team in sixth place on 64 points, two behind Arsenal who travel to Wolves today.

United will host rivals Manchester City at the same time and, when asked at a pre-match conference yesterday if he is the best person for United, Solskjaer said: "I would like to say yes, but it's not down to me to say that.

"I'm confident in my team and myself to take this challenge on. It's a big challenge and, when I came in here, I said I'm going to enjoy every single second.

"I don't like losing, but it's a challenge when you go through bad results. This is the way we're gonna do it and plan ahead."

Midfielder Paul Pogba had told Sky Sports that the way United played at Goodison Park was "disrespectful" to themselves, the club and the fans and that the team are looking to give everything on the pitch today.

However, City are on a 10-match winning streak in the league and Solskjaer has warned his men to expect an aggressive battle.

"We got to be ready for their pressing so we've got to defend well, got to be ready for aggression, they will snap at your heels and kick you," the 46-year-old said.

"There will be fouls, absolutely no doubt about it and, when you watch those games, they commit so many players forward.

  • 10

    Straight league wins by Man City.

  • 6

    Losses from eight games in all competitions by Manchester United.

"They won't allow us easy counter-attacking.

"This is the best game we could ask for with players hurt, as they definitely were.

"We had a meeting after the (Everton) game and all the players were definitely disappointed and really hurt by that performance.

"The City game is the perfect one, there's no hiding place on the pitch and the fans will back you if you give that effort."

 
 

Second-placed City, on 86 points, will reclaim top spot from leaders Liverpool (88) with a win today.

James Milner, who has played for three of United's fiercest rivals - Leeds, City and now Liverpool - in the course of a 17-year career, has said he will become a United fan for the first time today.

The 33-year-old explained that he would be delighted if United did Liverpool a favour by winning.

"First time in my life," he said when asked about his support for United this week.

"But I won't be watching. It's a bit of a waste of energy, willing the ball in the other goal."

Liverpool have never won the Premier League title and were last crowned champions of England when they lifted the old First Division trophy back in 1990.

Defender Virgil van Dijk, in his second season with Liverpool, also believes that United will put in a big performance and at the same time aid Liverpool's ambitions.

"United need to do themselves a favour. Everton is not easy to beat at home, but 4-0 is a big loss," the Dutchman said.

"We have no influence on that (the Manchester derby), but United are still playing for Champions League football and they need to get a (good) result."

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MAN UNITED V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Ready for City aggression'. Print Edition | Subscribe