Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Man United will NOT celebrate second place after Jose Mourinho said second place was one of his ‘best performances’ in 2018 … as the Red Devils pursue revenge at Tottenham after banging 6-1 in October
- Manchester United are traveling to Tottenham to bolster their top four status
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists his team is not happy with second place this season
- Spurs boss Jose Mourinho once took second place at United in 2018
- The Red Devils play for the first time since their 6-1 defeat in October against Spurs
While Jose Mourinho considered second place at Manchester United as one of his ‘best performances’, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not consider it a cause for celebration.
United’s steady climb up the table to second place was impressive, as they were beaten 6-1 at Old Trafford the last time they played against Spurs in October.
They have since lost only twice in 27 league matches and are in the semi-finals of the Europa League with one foot. It would be fine for most clubs, but Solskjaer knows that United are judged to higher standards and that the big gap behind Manchester City is no reason to put out the bunting.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United are not happy with second place this season
Jose Mourinho once claimed second place with United in 2018, which was a great achievement
‘Our ambition is much more than second place. You can’t say it’s an achievement, ‘Solskjaer emphasizes, even though Mourinho made it big in 2018.
‘I’ve always said that you can never be happy with that, and we are not. The mood is good, but the players are not happy, they want to improve and win something.
‘Our ambition is to catch the team for us. City has had three or four fantastic seasons and we know the challenge.
‘But we have to deal with it. Blood, sweat and tears must be put down. ‘
The transformation at United and Spurs since they last met is remarkable.
While United gained momentum by finishing 16th after that game, Mourinho’s Tottenham are 11 points behind their rivals and are currently outside the top four having previously been tipped as title contenders.
United will visit Spurs on Sunday for the first time since their 6-1 defeat to Mourinho’s men in October
The 6-1 appears to have been a turning point for United in staff and attitude, even though they also suffered a shortened preseason during the game.
Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly, struggling to stop the influence of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, have rarely made United’s strongest lineup ever since.
In contrast, Scott McTominay and Fred have become the go-to men in midfield, both of whom have been introduced as half-time substitutes to turn the tide of Spurs.
The 28-minute red card for Anthony Martial, who responded to an elbow from Erik Lamela by sticking his hand in the winger’s face, has also become significant in handling United’s alleged ‘dirty tricks’.
“Anthony was conned for that red card,” Solskjaer recalls. ‘We learned a lot from it, especially not to get aroused and react, to stay calm. So even though the players will all be on fire on Sunday, I still want to see a lot of that calmness. ‘
Solskjaer claims his United side will shoot but will not end for the Tottenham rematch
Solskjaer recalls having had a few words with his stars after the Spurs debacle before they all left on international duty while having time to think about what would happen next
“But I wasn’t angry,” he said. ‘We had a lack of preparation time because we had played late in the Europa League final. Then some players went home, others went abroad to see their families, and then had to be quarantined.
Jose was very dignified after the game. He almost apologized because he knew how hard it was for me to accept.
‘I have the utmost respect for him and you shouldn’t always believe what is said and written about him here. There were many positives from his time and he has been a manager I look up to. ‘
Solskjaer was a constant winner during his days with United. He is aware that the club’s overall standings since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 have been patchy at best. They finished sixth on both sides of Mourinho’s second place.
Solskjaer (left) insists he has the utmost respect for Tottenham manager Mourinho (right)
“We have not been stable in the top two or three,” the United boss admits. “ If we can get a good second place, not just scrape in at the end of the season, but have a good finish, we move on to the next with the hope that we can go even further and do even better. ” ‘
Martial has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury, while the manager must decide whether to rotate next week’s second leg against Granada in the European quarter-final, with United leading 2-0.
Linked with a move to United, Kane scored twice at Old Trafford and will be able to fully resume his partnership with Son today. The South Korean has not started since he sustained a muscle injury against Arsenal on March 14.