Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t rule out a Premier League title push this season even after a below-par start which saw them sink to the lower half of the league and lose an unnaturally high number of games at home. But the times have changed and Solskjaer is currently pleased with the progress of his team in recent weeks.
“I feel my squad is ready to do better than last season. Last season we were the best of the rest so let's see if we can move up the table. “said Solksjaer in a press conference about a month back, which brought in some praise for how he has been handling the team recently. His recent progress with the team has also got Roy Keane to speak on his favour when he said "there's no reason United can't push" in the Premier League title race, after the 6-2 demolition of Leeds.
On paper, United have won 6 of their last 8 PL games drawing the other two against Leicester and Manchester City, but Realistically, in the matches against Southampton and West Ham, United had periods when they were playing like a club fighting relegation. As it is that, leagues are won on paper- it is safe to say that Ole has cemented his position with a title push, who was hanging by a thread last month with a sack scissor hanging above him. Far from the 33 points lead last year, with Liverpool bottling on many occasions, United may have their first chance at the league when they visit Anfield on January 17.
Ole’s biggest problem has been defence issues and fitness problems. It looks as if United are behind their counter-attacking problem days with their gameplay shifting gears. Sitting deep and hitting on the break, which worked well in the early weeks of Solskjaer's reign, was all well and good against open teams, but as opponents then began to sit deep, goals and results quickly dried up.
Across Solskjaer's career with United, when United have had less possession, their points average stands at 2.15 but reduces to 1.7 when they have more than 50% possession. The talisman here is Bruno Fernandes, who is changing the way United function with the average points per match increasing for United with more possession on their feet.
That question mark will remain until United can prove themselves more than a team with a streak in them; the kind which saw them shake off a dreadful start a year ago to lose only two of their last 25 and sneak into the Champions League spots on the final day to do the unthinkable.
Perhaps this is the time. "We looked a fitter, stronger team," was Solskjaer's accurate assessment after demolishing Leeds and he wouldn’t want it to change anytime soon, to have a shot at the title.
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