Football

Manchester United boss Solskjaer hails players' grit in coronavirus-hit season

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) says he has been impressed with his squad's strength of character as they chase a rampant Manchester City side led by Pep Guardiola (right) in the Premier League.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) says he has been impressed with his squad's strength of character as they chase a rampant Manchester City side led by Pep Guardiola (right) in the Premier League. AFP/File

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has paid tribute to his squad for the way they have handled the demands of the season as they chase trophies in the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Europa League.

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“I’ve been impressed,” said Solskjaer ahead of Wednesday night’s Premier League clash at Crystal Palace. 

“Normally you go and meet your friends … you go to the cinema ... out for a meal … you go to a concert. But now it is relentless. It’s a game on Thursday night in the Europa League, Sunday afternoon in the Premier League, Wednesday evening in the Premier League. 

“They’ve not been able to have a social life, to have the time to switch off from football. 

"This season and this past year has been the strangest of all our lives.”

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United go into the game at Selhurst Park trailing pacesetters Manchester City by 15 points.

Pep Guardiola’s men were able to extend their lead last weekend to 12 points with a 2-1 victory on Saturday over West Ham United while United drew 0-0 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

On Tuesday night, Gabriel Jesus bagged a brace in a 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers to increase the advantage ahead of what could be a potential title decider on Sunday afternoon when City host United at the Etihad Stadium.

“If you want the crown you have to win,” said Guardiola after the success  over Wolves. “Nobody is the champion in March so you have to do well and try to win.”

City have won 21 straight games in all competitions. The run of triumphs includes 15 in the Premier League where they boast 65 points after 27 matches.

They have the most potent attack in the league with 56 goals scored and the stingiest defence - only 17 conceded. 

“When we’ve played really well, we’ve won comfortably," added Guardiola. “And when we haven’t been able to play well - like against a really good West Ham team - we were still able to take all three points.”

 

 

 

 

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