Are Manchester United in or out of the Premier League title race, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
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The Red Devils boss can’t seem to figure it out, as after each win he says they have a chance and each time they drop points he says they aren’t in the title picture.
Following their 3-1 win against Newcastle United on Sunday, which was a little trickier than expected, Solskjaer was adamant they are still in the title race as they sit 10 points behind leaders and crosstown rivals Manchester City.
“I am never going to say it’s done until it’s done,” Solskjaer said. “We have seen so many examples of teams that have hung in there, have kept working and have kept doing their own jobs. Something might happen. It’s not something we think about – we just think about our own performances. That’s the only thing we can control. We have got loads to play for, and as a team we’ve got loads to improve on.
“To build momentum by going on the pitch and playing well is important. We have had a couple of setbacks in West Brom and Sheffield United where I can sit here and explain why we did not get the points we deserved but that’s not what I want to do. For me, the boys are really focused. We have been good at recovering mentally and physically. It’s not easy playing Thursday night and coming back here. Maybe that’s why we needed 45 minutes to get going.”
How Manchester United can put themselves back in the title hunt
Look, despite not really setting the world alight this season, United are 14 points better off this season than they were at this stage last season.
They have also lost just once in their last 19 Premier League games (a shock home defeat to Sheffield United) and that has kind of flown under the radar.
You can understand why Solskjaer is playing down their title chances and expectation levels are way too high at Old Trafford if you look at the actual squad of players they have. But with a Manchester Derby against Man City coming up in a few weeks’ time, a win in that game will give them hope.
We all know City are on an incredible winning run but there’s no doubting that Pep Guardiola and everyone connected with City will prioritize winning the UEFA Champions League this season, and he could rotate players around the derby.
Even if United win the derby, as they have done on several occasions in recent seasons, they would still need City to slip up at least three more times in the final 13 games of the season and that just doesn’t seem like happening. And even when you look at the remaining games this season for City and United, the Red Devils have a much tougher schedule.
Yeah, it’s not happening.
Still, a second-place finish and a clear improvement in terms of points gained should be seen as a successful season for United. Even if they haven’t been in the title race.
Or have they? Or are they still?
Answers on a postcard, please…