Man Utd ‘on right track’ as they hunt Champions League spot, says Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his Manchester United side are “getting closer” to the standards demanded at Old Trafford as they focus on reaching the Champions League.

United conceded a late goal against Southampton on Monday to draw 2-2, ending a run of four straight Premier League wins.

The result left Solskjaer’s men in fifth place in the table but they are assured of a top-four finish if they win their remaining games against Crystal Palace, West Ham and fellow Champions League hopefuls Leicester.

The Norwegian boss said his message to his players ahead of Thursday’s trip to Crystal Palace was to keep on doing what they had been doing and “trust yourselves”.

“You’re at a club where it always boils down to the last couple of weeks, or two or three games in the season anyway,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“We’ve done fantastic since we restarted. We started with the draw against Tottenham of course but then had a great run. That little bit of a setback is a test for mentalities.”

Asked if this was the best Manchester United team since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Solskjaer said: “I don’t think that’s my job to say… but of course we’ve played some good football, some enjoyable football.

“Now it is about consistency. We know we’re privileged to play for this great club and represent this great club and there’s a certain expectation on how we should play football and we’re getting closer and closer to that type of team.”

Solskjaer said his team, unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions, had made major strides during the 2019/20 campaign.

“We’ve come a long way in this season,” he said. “I think we’ve hurried this process up by quite a distance with what we’ve done since we started this season.”

Solskjaer steered clear of the debate about Financial Fair Play and the lifting of Manchester City’s European ban this week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho branded the CAS decision “a disgrace” and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Monday was not “a good day for football”.

The ruling could have an immediate impact on United, with fifth place no longer enough for Champions League qualification, but Solskjaer would not be drawn into the debate.

“With Financial Fair Play, it was brought in to keep football and football clubs financially sustainable and I think that’s important and they also give us rules to adhere to.

“That’s what we’re focusing on and let other people discuss what’s right and wrong and what’s happened.”

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