Football

Solskjaer: Man United on right track to achieving high standards

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his Manchester United side are "getting closer" to the standards demanded at Old Trafford as they focus on reaching the Champions League.

United conceded a late goal against Southampton on Monday to draw 2-2, ending a run of four straight English Premier League wins.

The result left Solskjaer's men in fifth place in the table, but they will finish in the top four if they win their remaining games against Crystal Palace, West Ham United and fellow Champions League hopefuls Leicester City.

The Norwegian said his message to his players ahead of their trip to Palace tomorrow morning (Singapore time) was to keep on doing what they had been doing and "trust yourselves".

"You're at a club where it always boils down to the last couple of weeks, or two or three games in the season any way," he said yesterday.

"We've done fantastic since we restarted. We started with the draw against Tottenham Hotspur of course, but then had a great run. That little bit of a setback is a test for mentalities."

Solskjaer's side had been unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions.

Asked if this was the best Manchester United team since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Solskjaer said: "I don't think that's my job to say... but of course we've played some good football, some enjoyable football.

"Now it is about consistency. We know we're privileged to play for and represent this great club. There's a certain expectation on how we should play football and we're getting closer and closer to that type of team."

Solskjaer steered clear of the debate about Financial Fair Play and the lifting of Manchester City's European ban this week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, even though the ruling means fifth place will no longer be enough for Champions League qualification.

Against Palace, United could field Diogo Dalot at left-back if Luke Shaw (ankle) and Brandon Williams (head) are not available. Palace, who have lost their last five matches, will be without striker Christian Benteke, who was sent off in their 2-0 defeat by Aston Villa on Sunday. - AFP

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