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These boys look more like Man Utd - Solskjaer hails 'wonderful' top-four finish

By Joe Wright
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his players are looking more and more like a Manchester United team

London, July 27: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his players are "looking more and more like a Manchester United team" after they secured third place in the Premier League on Sunday.

A Bruno Fernandes penalty and a late goal from Jesse Lingard - his first in the league since Solskjaer's first match as interim manager in December 2018 - sealed a 2-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

The result means United finish on 66 points, above Chelsea on goal difference and four ahead of Leicester in fifth.

That marks a commendable turnaround in 2020, with a 2-0 loss to Arsenal on New Year's Day having left United 14 points and 20 goals behind the Foxes in the table.

Solskjaer described it as a "wonderful" achievement but was particularly proud that they set out to win a game in which a point would have been enough to secure Champions League qualification.

"I think the boys have done a great achievement," he told Sky Sports. "From where we were earlier on in the season to end up third is fantastic by them. They've taken on board so many things.

"We've had our ups and downs and it's come down to the last game. I have to say it's a wonderful achievement by everyone.

"It was not a classic, but really we want to learn to win games like this – games you need a result in

"It's been like a mini-tournament, this restart [since the coronavirus-enforced break], and it looks it as well. We're a bit tired and leggy. I think everyone can see we're not the same as we've been early on.

"But we had to go for it. We had to catch up so many points and so many goals and we've done it."

When asked how United had managed to haul back their deficit to the top four, Solskjaer replied: "I think these boys are looking more and more like a Man United team – the Man United way. You play with no fear, you go for it.

"Today, we could have sat back and tried to get a draw but it's not in our genes. It's not in the DNA of the club. We've just gone for it."

A return to the Champions League not only allows United to compete with Europe's elite again but also makes potential transfer business easier, with additional funds and the lure of playing at the highest level likely to make negotiations simpler.

Solskjaer is more excited at the prospect of pitting his developing side against the strongest opposition available.

"For this team, it means better opposition next year and bigger games. We need to step it up because it means every midweek you've got to go with your best team.

"In the Europa League, we've rested players and given an amount of minutes to young lads. Now, we've got to go for every game. You've got to go and get fitter and stronger and more robust.

"That's another part of Champions League, of course, financial gain. But that's not in my head. The club, they know what I feel we need and we're going to try and pursue it and let's see where we end up."

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Story first published: Monday, July 27, 2020, 0:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 27, 2020
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