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Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted Manchester United have “no time to lose” if they are to mount a title challenge, with the manager aware Liverpool will be seven points clear of his side if Sunday’s visitors win at Old Trafford.
United have taken one point from their previous three matches and last won in the league at West Ham a month ago. Liverpool are undefeated in 12 matches in all competitions and were a point off the top of the Premier League going into the weekend.
Solskjær said: “We’ve lost some points recently that we’re not happy with, but we are in the situation we’re in and we have to take it from here and really get going. Because there’s no time to lose. Even though it’s a long season the teams we’re competing against are not going to give you too many options to catch them.”
United have been lax defensively and while the Norwegian is working to eradicate this, he believes it is taking time for the summer signings Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo to gel with his other forwards. “We’re competing at such a high level in the Champions League and Premier League that if you switch off, you will be punished. But I’d expect us to improve in the next couple of months, definitely,” he said. “Cristiano has been here for a month, Jadon two months, Marcus [Rashford] is just coming back. Edinson [Cavani] had a longer run up to when he could join us.
“So I expect us to improve, definitely. Edinson and Cristiano are two of the best box players in world football. It is exciting to have these types of players to work with. Then it is about finding the balance – how big, for example, that we’re going to make the pitch as we’ve got exciting wingers, goalscorers.”
Although a former Manchester City player, this is Sancho’s first domestic season, having moved to Borussia Dortmund aged 17. Now 21, he is yet to completely settle but the manager has no doubt he will. “He’s English and lived in Manchester before but he’s not played in the Premier League until now,” Solskjær said. “He’s got Champions League experience, great experience with Dortmund, but now it’s the Premier League – the best league in the world and he’s come here. But he’s going to give us so much in the years to come.
“He’s humble, he’s hard working, he wants to learn and I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and blossom because he will. He’s had moments with us that has had the crowd really on the edge of their seats. Can he add the next bit? Yes, I’m sure and he will do.”
Last season United finished second, above Liverpool, and their record 20 championship titles is one more than their Merseyside rivals. Solskjær said: “It’s a massive rivalry because of the history of the two clubs and the amount of titles and trophies we have won. There is a history between the two cities and the two football clubs. It’s a rivalry you have to embrace. You have to take it up.
“You have to hold your hands up and say they are a very good club and a very good team. And you have to make sure you’re better than them.
“For the last four years they have been tremendous – and we’re chasing them. But we have taken steps – and the next step is to be above them again. Last season is history and hopefully this season we can achieve something better.”