Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have got over their ‘brutal’ defeat by Tottenham as they prepare to face north London rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 6-1 thrashing at the start of this month was United’s joint heaviest Premier League defeat, but Solskjaer’s side have bounced back with wins over Newcastle, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig as well as a draw with Chelsea.
‘I think any result as brutal as a 6-1 would have to get a response and, of course, it has been dealt with internally,’ said Solskjaer.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed the response of his team from their 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham
United were thrashed at Old Trafford but have made a strong recovery in recent matches
Solskjaer’s side beat RB Leipzig 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday evening
Premier League unless stated
Sunday Arsenal (H)
Wednesday Istanbul Basaksehir (A)
Champions League group stage
November 7 Everton (A)
November 21 West Brom (H)
November 24 Istanbul Basaksehir (H)
Champions League group stage
November 29 Southampton (A)
‘We’ve tweaked a couple of things. We’ve got players fit and I think the manner of defeat wasn’t something that we should ever have to be confronted with again.
‘Then again, things happen in football these days but the response has been fantastic. That’s what I’m concerned about because we wanted to finish that off as soon as we could and just move forward.’
The United boss also admitted that his players were not fit enough at the start of the season after only having one more week than other Premier League clubs to recover from their run to the Europa League semi-finals in August.
‘The truth is that we were not in shape before the international break,’ he added. ‘Now we are fit and we are sharp and it has only gotten better and better.
‘We are always working to be stable, and I think we have been stable ever since February. We’ve lost one of the last eight, which I think is pretty consistent.’
Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford will be Solskjaer’s 100th game in charge of United, even though the fixture lacks the intensity of the fierce duels between the two clubs when he was a player.
‘Arsenal is always going to be difficult because they are a very good team with a very good manager (Mikel Arteta) who has got some great ideas on how football should be played,’ he said.
‘I’m looking forward to it. I’m surprised it’s 100 – it’s gone really quickly even though a lot has happened. So let’s hope I can celebrate No 100 with a good performance and a good result. I’ve enjoyed it so far.
‘When I played, it was between us and Arsenal to win the league so that was a very fierce rivalry. There are all sorts of stories about what happened – that’s the passion, the excitement, the importance of those games.
Solskjaer and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon
Solskjaer scored for United in a 6-1 win over Arsenal during the 2000-01 season
Win percentage 55.56
‘We knew if we took six points off them that would be us winning the league more or less and vice versa. There have been some unbelievable games, some fond memories, some bad memories.
‘There is still a rivalry and I still the history but now we don’t think about them or anyone as our rivals. We just need to put points on the board and it’s so early in the season anyway.’
Liverpool and Manchester City have been the two dominant teams in recent seasons, but Solskjaer thinks the peculiar situation in football at the moment means other clubs will fancy their chances this time. Everton, Aston Villa and Leicester occupy three of the top four places in the early stages of the season.
He said: ‘I think football has developed and so many clubs have developed strength in depth and the ability to challenge for the trophies.
‘So even though the last two seasons you’ve had two teams running away with it, I think this season a lot just underneath them would hope to put up a challenge.
‘Back then, we felt it was either us or Arsenal, and then Chelsea came through as well. Now it’s probably more exciting and interesting for the fans as well and everyone that we just don’t really have ‘it’s going to be one of these two’.
‘Anything can happen this season with what’s happening around the world. We’re just taking one game at a time.’
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