OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER will work on the mentality of his players to ensure it is not just the big teams United are beating.
His side completed an incredible four days on Saturday with a Manchester derby victory at the Etihad to go with the win over Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham three days earlier.
It meant they are now fifth and have beaten four of the top six, as well as being the only team to have taken a point off leaders Liverpool.
The problem is with the teams lower down the table.
Of the bottom six they have lost to two of them and drawn against two more.
Before the back-to-back wins they drew consecutive league games against newly-promoted Sheffield United and Aston Villa.
Boss Solskjaer recognises that, in his day, it was consistent victories against lesser opponents that won United the league, not just getting up for the big one.
Now he wants to ensure his team recognises that every game is as big as the last.
The Norwegian said: “If it’s a mental thing, then we can sort it out. We’ll work with the mentality of the boys.
“If the boys are telling me they can’t get up for these games then we’ve got a problem.
“Then I’ve really got to work with them because, when I played, that’s how we won the league.
“We never gave points away against the lesser teams.
“The Premier League is difficult — if you don’t have that mentality you won’t get results.
“That’s up to me, to make sure that for every single game they know they have to earn the right to win.
Sometimes you’ve got to earn it by passing quicker, winning the ball back — there are different ways of winning games.”
Solskjaer said that in his playing days it was all about proving to the manager that you were worth your place next week.
And he wants his players to start recognising that too, not just in a Manchester derby but when the likes of Everton arrive next weekend at Old Trafford.
He said: “It’s fighting for your place in the team.
“The mentality should always be that way. But we were an exceptional group too.
“That group of players were unbelievable, incredible personalities, but we’re getting there.
“They’re learning great attitude and great values but they don’t have the experience my team had. We’ll get there.”
JEKYLL AND HYDE UNITED
There is evidence that they certainly are getting there. The problem is when they come up against sides who are out to stop them, rather than ones who attack and take them on.
Solskjaer said: “We know we have to get better results against teams that drop deeper. We’ll improve on that.”
The space United were afforded at the Etihad on Saturday allowed them to counter-attack and rip Pep Guardiola’s City to shreds.
They were two up by the break, with a VAR-awarded penalty from Marcus Rashford and a superbly worked Anthony Martial goal, but it could have been as many as five.
True, after Nicolas Otamendi got one back five minutes from time they were hanging on — but hang on they did for a famous victory.
Solskjaer added: “We know we can play quick, attacking football when we get the shape right, as we did in this game.
“The attitude was spot-on and every time we had the ball it seemed we could carve them open.
“It doesn’t matter if it was two passes or four passes or ten. The first half was attacking football as it should be played.
“It’s not like we win the ball and the boys want to slow it down to have a rest.
“No. The goal is that way and we go that way.
“The boys out there had great character and attitude.
“We got tired and dug in towards the end but none of them gave up.
“They don’t give up and they hang in there. I’ve said so many times, I’ve got boys here who want to improve.”
Improving they definitely are.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Man United ‘lacked desire’ in first half against Sheffield United
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