Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Manchester United must win their own mini league after naming their main rivals to claim a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
Since thumping Chelsea 4-0 on the opening weekend of the season, United have scored on only four more occasions in their subsequent five top-flight fixtures and face Arsenal in Monday Night Football needing a morale-boosting victory in order to get their top-four hopes back on track.
United have won just two of their opening six league matches and are already 13 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, albeit having played one less match.
The Red Devils now find themselves way down in 11th place ahead of kick-off with Crystal Palace, Burnley and Bournemouth all ahead of Solskjaer’s side.
However, after insisting he still has faith in his own abilities to restore United to greatness, Solskjaer believes his side are more than capable of challenging for a top-four finish.
But with leaders Liverpool and Man City showing no signs of letting up and all-but certain of finishing first and second, Solskjaer has called on his players to win their own league after naming the sides his team are competing with for a top-four finish and the remaining two Champions League places.
“The top two last season were too far ahead from the rest of us,” said Solskjaer. “But I think we should be in and around the places behind there.
“Chelsea are going through a similar period of rebuilding. Then there’s Arsenal, Tottenham, us, you’ve got Leicester. There are loads of teams wanting those positions and that’s where we’ll be, in and around.”
Solskjaer is poised to start Mason Greenwood in attack with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both struggling with injury; the Norwegian earlier admitting the signing of a new striker will be prioritised in January.
Defending the decision to allow both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave this summer, Solskjaer continued: “Rom didn’t want to be here. What is the point having players who don’t want to be here?
“There were other strikers available but they weren’t the ones we wanted. If the right one was there, we would have [looked to sign them].
“Given Rom and Alexis left, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see we are looking for some creativity and goals.”
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