Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Manchester City they haven’t won anything yet despite opening up a 10-point lead in the Premier League title race.
Buoyed by an impressive 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday, Solskjaer said Manchester United are ready to push Pep Guardiola’s team right to the wire.
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“We’re second and of course your ambition then is to not end any lower than that. We’re going to have to get a good run together if we’re going to put pressure on City and that should start on Sunday [against Newcastle].”
Only twice has a team with a 10-point lead failed to win the title in the Premier League era — Manchester United in 1997-98 and Newcastle in 1995-96.
United host Newcastle on Sunday having won just one of their last five league games.
The dip in form has allowed City to move clear at the top but also put pressure on United’s place in the top four, with fifth-placed West Ham just four points behind. Liverpool, in sixth, are a further two points back.
“We can’t hide the fact we’ve dropped off our form a bit,” Solskjaer said. “We dropped points against Everton, Sheffield United, West Brom; points that we feel we deserved more and we should have got more.”
“[Real Sociedad] was about finding ourselves and getting the X factor back in, the brightness and the focus so Newcastle will be a very important game for us definitely.”
After thrashing Southampton 9-0 at the beginning of February, United followed up with a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup and back-to-back league draws against Everton and West Brom.
The comfortable victory over Sociedad was a welcome return to form and Solskjaer has demanded a repeat against Newcastle on Sunday.
“We demand we turn up every game and earn the right to win,” Solskjaer added.
“You’ve got to run more than the opposition, you’ve got to want to win more than the opposition, you’ve got to suffer more than the opposition, you’ve got to put your body on the line.
“Every game in the Premier League is high demand and that’s why the players are paid the money they are to perform every time they’re asked to.”