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Solskjaer REFUSES to admit defeat to City in the title race


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will not give up their pursuit of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

If City extend their winning run to 18 games in all competitions at Arsenal on Sunday, United will be 13 points behind their neighbours when they kick off at home to Newcastle straight afterwards.

But Solskjaer is refusing to throw in the towel, not least because he knows it is imperative that United at least win the battle for second place with so many other teams competing for the top-four.

‘I don’t think anyone would say they’re not going to go for it,’ said the United boss, who has seen his team drop nine points in their last five games. ‘We’re going to go for a win every single game we play, of course we are.

‘We’re going to have to get a good run together to if we’re going to put pressure on City and that should start on Sunday.

‘But, whatever other teams do – City, Liverpool, Leicester, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Brom, whoever – we can’t control. We just have to control ourselves. We are in the position we are, we’re second and of course your ambition then is to not end any lower than that.

‘We can’t hide the fact we’ve dropped off our form a bit. We dropped points against Everton, Sheffield United, West Brom (and Arsenal), points that we feel we deserved more and we should have got more. Newcastle will be a very important game for us definitely.’

Solskjaer has no doubt United will meet his demands for maximum effort to push City for the rest of the season.

‘Of course it’s relentless, of course we demand we turn up every game and earn the right to win,’ he 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. We ask for relentlessness and attitude every single game.’

Paul Pogba will again be absent with a thigh strain while United will give late fitness tests to Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek who missed the Europa League win over Real Sociedad in Turin on Thursday. Scott McTominay was doubtful for the game but played for an hour.

‘Paul is out, Phil (Jones) is out, I don’t know how Scott is and I don’t know how Edinson and Donny will be either,’ said Solskjaer.

‘They have a chance I think. We just have to give them until before training on Saturday, because Saturday we need to pick a team so we will see how they are. Hopefully they can both be available.’

Solskjaer must also make an increasingly difficult decision between his two goalkeepers after Dean Henderson took over from David de Gea against Sociedad and kept his third clean sheet in four games.

‘Of course Dean is in with a shout,’ said the United manager.

‘Dean was very solid (against Sociedad) – good kicking, he was clean in his handling and clean with his short passes. It was a good performance and he is maturing all the time.

‘But I have a very very good goalkeeper in David and he saved us against West Brom so I can’t say to you now.

‘I always speak to the players first before I say who’s not playing, they’ll know.’

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