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United Gunnar climb as high as they can

Solskjaer says his side should never be satisfied with just a top-four spot

Manchester United look re-born under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, after earning five English Premier League wins in as many games, the Norwegian believes the chase for top-four is on.

Solskjaer came through his toughest managerial test yet with flying colours as his side beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the EPL at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time), thanks to a Marcus Rashford strike in the 44th minute.

"We had to beat them today if we were to have a chance to catch them," Solskjaer said.

"We were 10 points behind Tottenham and now it's seven. That's catchable. Thirteen is impossible, 10 is difficult, now we have a chance."

The win over Spurs was the sixth in a row since Solskjaer took over and they are now sixth in the table on 41 points, behind Arsenal on goal difference and six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

"We're not where we should be. United should never only look for the top four so, of course, we have a job to catch up to the teams in front of us," Solskjaer said.

"We have some games coming up that we're expected to win, where we're at home, so let's just concentrate on the next performance and keep working as we do in training."

The game was billed by some as "The Audition", with both Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino and Solskjaer in contention to become the next permanent manager at Old Trafford.

And it was not only the three points that will have further staked Solskjaer's claim for the full-time role, his former team-mate Gary Neville said.

"In the first half, he caught Pochettino and Tottenham out - there's no doubt about that," the Sky Sports pundit told the Gary Neville Podcast.

"Manchester United went with a diamond and split strikers, which they haven't done all season, so it's an adaptation.

"They've gone to Dubai this week not for a stag party or a bonding session but to work. They went to work on fitness, but they also went to work on tactics. In that first half, United could have been one or two goals up.

"Tottenham had a couple of chances as well, but United looked really threatening in the channels... He proved in that first half that he can live in a big game against a big manager and a big team.

"In the second half, it was different. Spurs adapted and they came into the game. However, in terms of the test, he's absolutely passed it with flying colours."

Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher also praised Solskjaer, hailing the Red Devils' first-half display as a tactical masterclass, the Daily Mail reported.

On Match Of The Day 2, Fletcher said: "The first half was a tactical masterclass. The plan early on was to run into the channels and turn Spurs around. Every chance they got the ball, they looked to exploit the space.

"They were taking the game to Spurs early in the first half. They did it because Spurs' fullbacks like to play high and wide.


"So their plan was for Martial and Rashford to stay wide and run in the channels either side of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. They did it all day."

Solskjaer's return to Manchester United has rejuvenated the club's spirit on and off the pitch, but the Norwegian believes the improved mood is very much down to what the team do on the pitch, Reuters reported.

"I don't think anyone would be happy if we didn't win games," the 45-year-old said.

"It's about winning games, but you have to realise when you're at Man United, you have to put a smile on your face.

"You have to go into work every day enjoying it because one day, suddenly, it's over...

"Come in, work, enjoy it. If you win games, you smile even broader, if not you wake up next day and you go back to work and you try again."