Fulham vs Manchester United preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side eyeing top four spot
New signings Lazar Markovic and Havard Nordtveit are in contention to feature for Fulham; watch live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday
Last Updated: 09/02/19 11:27am
Manchester United will be aiming to move into the Premier League's top four when they travel to Fulham, live on Sky Sports from 11.30am on Saturday.
United were 11 points off the Champions League qualification spots before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December but after eight games unbeaten in the leaguethey head to Craven Cottage with the chance to go fourth with victory against Fulham.
"You take one step at a time, and that's one of the goals we have set - moving into the top four," Solskjaer said. "If we do so, we want to stay there and improve on that.
"It's been fantastic the last two months, so consistency is now the key word. We need to keep on improving and winning games, but in a better way than say, the Leicester one.
"I felt we hung on. It was good enough, but we shouldn't just be happy with good enough. We want to improve."
Fulham have lost four of their last five league games and manager Claudio Ranieri says his team need "soldiers" to help them avoid relegation after only one season back in the Premier League.
The Italian took charge in November with Fulham in deep trouble having struggled under Slavisa Jokanovic and he has been unable to lead a sustained recovery. They have won three times in the league since, compared to once in the first 12 games of the season, but remain second from bottom with 17 points, seven behind Burnley who are one place above the relegation zone.
"We know where we are, we know it's very tough and we need soldiers who fight until the end," Ranieri told reporters on Thursday.
"We are ready to fight. I have to motivate them and give my positivity to our players. It's much better to play at home than away. It's very important to achieve points against this team."
New signings Lazar Markovic and Havard Nordtveit are in contention to feature for Fulham.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is also pushing for a place on the bench, having recovered his fitness.
Alfie Mawson and Marcus Bettinelli both miss out due to knee injuries, and the on-loan Timothy Fosu-Mensah is ineligible against his parent club.
Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are out for Manchester United.
Caretaker manager Solskjaer revealed club captain Valencia faces a couple of weeks out after suffering an injury setback, while Darmian also faces several weeks out.
Marcos Rojo has returned to training this week after his own injury setback but looks unlikely to feature at Craven Cottage.
- Fulham have won just three of their 27 Premier League games against Manchester United (D5 L19), with two of those victories coming at Craven Cottage in 2009.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 10 Premier League contests against Fulham, winning eight and drawing two.
- Only against Arsenal (20) have Fulham lost more Premier League matches than they have versus Man Utd (19).
- Fulham have won two of their last three home Premier League games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 11 at Craven Cottage (W2 D5 L4). They've not won back-to-back home games in the competition since April 2013.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their eight Premier League games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (W7 D1), netting 20 goals and conceding just six. They are looking to win six consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time since May 2009.
- Fulham have lost 22 of their last 23 Premier League meetings with 'big six' sides (D1) since beating Spurs 1-0 in March 2013, losing all eight this season by an aggregate score of 5-25.
- Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has picked up just two wins in his 13 Premier League matches against Man Utd (W2 D6 L5), losing the last three in a row. Only versus Arsenal (5) and Charlton (4) has Ranieri lost four consecutive Premier League games versus a single opponent.
I can't see anything other than a United win, they will have too much for Fulham. I think Fulham will score, but it is at the back that they look all over the place. There will be goals in the game, but it will be another three points for United.
MERSE PREDICTS: 1-3 (11/1 with Sky Bet)