The dogged 1-0 win against Burnley in midweek has taken Manchester United to the top of the league table, displacing Liverpool from the 1st position. Last January, people were wondering if the Reds can even be a part of the top four. They finished the season at 3rd spot behind Liverpool and Manchester City.
Since the start of this season, everyone was talking about how Manchester United has to decrease the distance between them and Manchester City or Liverpool. With Chelsea’s successful transfer window and Jose Mourinho guiding Tottenham Hotspur, many pundits kept United out of their probable top four for the season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always been under an intense scanner for his role as United’s manager. With Mauricio Pochettino without a club earlier, many fans wanted the board to sack Solsjaer.
A poor start to the season increased the scrutiny against him. Man United lost their opening fixture of the season by 1-3 against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. They suffered an embarrassing home defeat when the Spurs scored six goals past David De Gea. A 0-0 draw and 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and Arsenal respectively forced more voices to call for Solskjaer’s exit.
Gary Neville has always been vocal about Man United’s performances. After the game against Burnley, he was full of smiles and was hoping for United’s win against Liverpool on Sunday. He agreed that Liverpool is still the favorites to win the league but did not shy away from praising United after this surprising resurgence.
The bold step from the Man United’s board was that they always backed Solskjaer. They did not put any pressure on him and resisted the temptation to join forces with Pochettino.
A time for Man United fans to rejoice
Gary Neville stated that the fans of the club should absolutely enjoy this moment. And why should they not? It is for the first time since 2013 that Man United is at the top of the table after the turn of the year.
Over the past 7 years, the fans in United’s corner have faced embarrassment, both in terms of results and the type of football. Finally, they are witnessing their side play the “United way” of old times. The squad has the belief that they have the ability to defeat any team.
Neville also acknowledged that the camaraderie between the players has increased. They are trying to play for each other and for the club. Earlier, this bond between the players was missing.
“You could see with the way they were celebrating with each other that there’s resilience which has built off some performances that haven’t been at times great away from home. But they’ve won when they haven’t been at their best and you get confidence from that.”
Super Showdown at Anfield
Speaking about Manchester United’s trip to Anfield stadium this Sunday, Gary Neville said: “It’s going to be a huge build-up to the game on Sunday.” United’s recent form means that they are not entering this fixture as an underdog. It will be a battle between two equal sides for the 1st spot on the league table.
Solskjaer and his men will have the opportunity to extend their lead whereas Klopp will be hoping that his team takes their 1st spot back. It is important for Solskjaer and his coaching staff to keep their players grounded. If the Reds can pass through this moment of the season successfully, we might expect them to lift the trophy at the end.