Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plays down Premier League title talk

Man Utd are unbeaten in seven Premier League matches and trail leaders Liverpool by five points with a game in hand; Man Utd face Leicester City on Boxing Day; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "It is not something we talk about. The only thing we talk about and focus on is improving every day."

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plays down the suggestion that Manchester United are Premier League title contenders

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down the suggestion that Manchester United are Premier League title contenders this season.

United's 6-2 demolition of Leeds in the Premier League last Sunday put Solskjaer's side third, just a point behind second-placed Leicester - who they face on Boxing Day - and five points adrift of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand on both teams.

It is the closest they have been to the top of the table at Christmas since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, but despite being unbeaten in seven league matches and having won all six of their away games, Solskjaer says the possibility of becoming champions for the first time since 2013 is not being discussed.

Asked how the club deals with talk of being title contenders, the United boss said: "There's noise around Manchester United anyway, so for us it's about improving as a team and taking one game at a time, we have to. That's the name of the game and that's the only way you will challenge for anything at the end of a season anyway.

"It is not something we talk about. The only thing we talk about and focus on is improving every day, and learning how to deal with certain situations. At the moment we're getting praise and that's another thing to learn to deal with."

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Luke Shaw says it would be silly to write off Manchester United's Premier League title chances this season

Solskjaer wary of Leicester threat

United's perfect away record in the league comes under threat against a Leicester team who have won four of their past six games in all competitions.

United beat the Foxes 2-0 on the final day of last season to clinch Champions League qualification, but Solskjaer is wary of the dangers posed by Brendan Rodgers' side.

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Jesse Lingard of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on July 26, 2020 in Leicester, England.Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors.
Image: Manchester United beat Leicester on the final day of last season to secure Champions League qualification

"We've had some very good games against Leicester, very tight games. They're a very good side with a very good coach and I've enjoyed watching them under Brendan," Solskjaer said.

"It was a big test for us to go down to their stadium for the last league game in the summer and we passed that one with flying colours.

"We played a really controlled game, but I know it's not going to be the same now because it's a different time of the season. They've got some threats that we have to look out for."

Ole: Martial will get better and better

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Solskjaer insists Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will get 'better and better' this season

Solskjaer insists Anthony Martial will get "better and better" after the forward scored his fourth goal of the season in Wednesday night's Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Everton.

Martial came off the bench to set up Edinson Cavani's opening goal in the 2-0 victory at Goodison Park, before scoring himself in stoppage time.

Despite a disappointing start to this campaign, which included a red card against Tottenham in October, Martial has shown signs of returning to his best form with two goals and four assists in his past three games.

The France international was United's top scorer last season with 23 goals and despite finding the net just four times so far this term, Solskjaer believes he will continue to improve.

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup quarter-final tie between Everton and Manchester Utd

"Anthony has made some important contributions lately - assists, scored goals," Solskjaer said.

"He's getting fitter and I think he showed against Leeds - and he knows I'm onto him about this - his running stats from that game set a new standard for him which I want to see more of.

"He's always going to have the quality. Maybe his confidence was bruised a little bit by what happened earlier on in the season with the red card and he's had some criticism, but Anthony is going to be better and better and when we get Mason, Marcus and Anthony firing on all cylinders as well, I think we'll be a bigger threat to teams."

Maguire: Man Utd must start winning trophies

Harry Maguire says Manchester United must start winning trophies again following Wednesday night's Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Everton.

United won 2-0 at Goodison Park to reach the last four and set up a derby against rivals Manchester City, who knocked out Solskjaer's side at the same stage last season.

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Manchester Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with his side's performance against Everton

    United reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League last term - as well finishing third in the Premier League - but have not won a major trophy since 2017 and club captain Maguire insists that needs to change.

      "We play for Manchester United, we're expected to win trophies. We got to three semi-finals last year, this year we've reached our first semi-final in our first competition," he told Sky Sports.

      "It's important to reach these big games, but we need to now start winning the big games, like the semi-finals and lift trophies for this club."

      Merse: Man Utd can make title statement at Leicester

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      Image: Paul Merson says Manchester United could be Liverpool's main Premier League title rivals

      Manchester United will have to be taken seriously as Liverpool's main Premier League title rivals if they emerge from their visit to Leicester with another away win, according to Paul Merson.

      Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's position came under scrutiny in November following defeats by Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir, and his side's early Champions League elimination intensified the pressure surrounding his job.

      But United moved up to third in the Premier League following a chaotic 6-2 win over Leeds last weekend, and Merson believes a seventh successive victory this season away from Old Trafford on Boxing Day would represent a landmark result.

      "If United go and win at Leicester, this would be a bigger statement than beating Leeds 6-2," Merson told Sky Sports. "If they can come away with a win, I would think 'wow'. It would turn my head and if they win they would be Liverpool's main rivals.

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      It's fair to say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have been sub-par for much of the season, and have struggled against sides who set up in a compact style, particularly at Old Trafford.

      "I just think with Man City, later on in the season when it comes to the business end of the Champions League, if they're playing a quarter-final on the Wednesday I can't see Pep Guardiola playing his strongest team on the weekend. The Champions League is the one he wants and City are already a lot of points behind Liverpool.

      "With United, I don't feel like they've got the cover required at centre-half to win the Premier League at present. You would probably say United are Liverpool's nearest threat, and I wouldn't have said that three weeks ago.

      "When you look at the games Leicester have lost this season at home [against West Ham, Aston Villa, Fulham and Everton], they've been beaten by teams they were expected to have a go at. They were all games they were expected to win, so this one should suit Leicester, as the game at Tottenham did."

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