Nedum Onuoha says Man United can use their win against Newcastle as a springboard for future success (0:44)

MANCHESTER, England – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says whatever it takes to push Manchester City to the wire, but he would be forgiven if he doesn’t even believe himself Manchester United are back in second place in the standings in the Premier League after a 3-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday, but with City scoring 18 straight wins at Arsenal earlier on Sunday, makers are giving Solskjaer’s side less than a 1% chance to win the title

To put it in context, experts believe there is an equal likelihood that they will be relegated instead

United still have a lot to play for this season and an FA Cup or Europa League trophy would put a shine on a campaign in which Solskjaer can already confidently indicate progress But Solskjaer’s task over the summer is how to get closer to City; by then his players are playing for their place in the squad for what the Norwegians hope will be the next step forward

Newcastle, meanwhile, are going the other way and an eighth loss in their last 10 games has left them just three points above the relegation spots, putting more pressure on Steve Bruce For Solskjaer, c ‘was a positive end to a day that began with the announcement that Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey would be required on the bench after a number of his employees were forced to self-isolate in accordance with COVID-19 protocols

“We have good staff elsewhere,” Solskjaer said afterwards. “Of course it was a different preparation for the boys, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in. We have to be prepared


“In the first half, even though we had most of the possession, we didn’t create enough. We had to step it up and we did it in the second half

“I’ll never say [the title race] is over until it’s over, you’ve seen so many examples of teams standing in there, keep working, make their own work and something might happen It’s not something we think about – we think about our own performance and our own games; it’s the only thing we can control We have a lot to play and improve ”

Solskjaer will support his core of young players – namely Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan-Bissaka – to get better and better, helped by his established senior players like Bruno Fernandes and captain Harry Maguire But conversations have already taken place between Solskjaer and his recruiting team about a plan for the summer transfer window, and players already here have three months to prove their positions don’t need to be upgraded. level

Club chiefs have not tried to hide the fact that the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented fans from attending matches at Old Trafford for nearly a year, has affected finances, but the vice -Executive chairman Ed Woodward and the Glazers will always make money available for transfers The question now is how Solskjaer uses it There won’t be a major overhaul as he prefers a gradual turnover of players, but to l approaching his two years as a permanent manager, the focus must be on how he ends the wait for a title

Ask United fans what the squad need and you’ll find several goodwill arguments that from center-back to center-forward should be the priority, which shows the scale of the task, and it will be Solskjaer’s job to decide which positions are most in need of new faces

Looking at Sunday, Solskjaer will not have been happy to see his team concede from a speculative center in the box which allowed Allan Saint-Maximin to briefly make 1-1 It was the 32nd goal in the league that ‘they scored this season, the same as Fulham in the 18th On the other end, Anthony Martial’s struggles as a first-choice striker continued until he was substituted 20 minutes from time After scoring 17 league goals last season, the Frenchman has managed just four this term, including two in the 9-0 win over Southampton

Rashford’s place in Solskjaer’s plans is no doubt, but the England striker had a much more productive night, scoring the opening goal with a fantastic run and a thumping finish before his close contact and his feet quick win a penalty for Fernandes to score his 22nd goal of the season In between, Dan James has scored his sixth goal in his last nine appearances for club and country and his third in as many games for United

James, the 23-year-old winger, has had to be patient this season, but he confirms Solskjaer’s decision to reject Leeds United loan offers last summer and into January Back in the squad, James took the opportunity to show he deserves to stay for the long haul Others may not be so lucky

“Dan works hard, he’s a great boy in and around the place,” said Solskjaer, who also debuted at 17-year-old academy Shola Shoretire. “He knows he’s been very close a few times When you score the number of goals he has so far, the confidence has to be very high

“Dan with the energy he’s got, the X-factor and the pace he’s giving us something that must be hard to play against if you’re a defender It’s been a really good week for him”

Man United v Newcastle

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