Manchester United’s unbeaten run in the Premier League extended to 9 matches after their win against Wolves, and took them to second position in the table, 3 points behind leaders Liverpool. United could go level on points with a win against Aston Villa tomorrow and put down a marker as this season’s genuine title contenders.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has smartly navigated the busy festive schedules by making significant rotations, and ensured they dropped just 4 points in December. The recent run of results has propelled United within touching distance of defending Champions Liverpool.
Solskjaer believes there has been a big change in the mentality at the club with the arrival of new players. Speaking ahead of their game against Aston Villa, the United manager said “One, they’re two years older than when I came. Two, some of them are really strong personalities that we’ve brought in and they have been a really good influence. We have competition for places which means you cannot go around and think you can just fake your way being part of this team. You only deserve to be in a team that you contribute to.“
“I think everyone has realised they are privileged to be part of Man United, such a fantastic club with a fantastic history. When you’re here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe you’ll experience some fantastic times.”
The Norwegian admitted his players were not happy by his squad rotation during the festive period. Solskjaer added “It’s horses for courses. Some players you feel are more suitable for some teams but, of course, you do plan ahead. That’s part of being at Man United, you’ve got top players everywhere. We know that throughout the season if you’re going to win something you have to contribute.“
“That’s just the way it’s going to be. Players will have to be angry with me until the next time they play because, believe you me, they’re not happy when I tell them they’re starting on the bench.”
“We have a strong squad and have rotated a lot. We’ve not really called it a settled XI because I don’t think this season is going to be about that anyway. It’s going to be about the squad. It’s going to be about the 25 players.”
“I think towards the end of the season that will help us. It has to be done this way. When you leave Scott and Fred out it’s not easy because they deserve to play every game, but Nemanja and Paul played so well against Everton.”