Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his players ahead of the final Premier League match of the season. United will need to at least draw against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon with many seeking a victory to end the season in style. This match could be worth £100 million in revenue to the team that comes out on top. Leicester will be the underdogs with United rising up to third following their 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
United will need just a point to clinch a top four position this season, a win would keep them in third, even if Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers because of United’s impressive goal difference over Frank Lampard’s side. United remain unbeaten in the last 13 Premier League matches and have closed a 14-point gap on Leicester, which is something that many would not have expected considering United’s poor form during important stages of the season.
Solskjaer, seeking to get what he needs to impress is boss, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who set him a target of UEFA Champions League football next season, which the Norwegian is close to achieving on Sunday, although he will have a second shot in the UEFA Europa League next month, which is a great chance but not something that United should be relying on to get what they need. United effectively has the Champions League on the bag, they just need to check out.
Earlier this season, when United 13 matches to play, they trailed Leicester by 14 points and looked set to miss out on Champions League football next season, at least through their league position. However, after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, United seem to have changed as a team with the Portuguese midfielder experiencing defeat once in 19 appearances with United losing once in 20 matches. Solskjaer, telling his team they have not achieved anything yet, was reported by The Mirror as saying:
“We’ve not ended up anywhere yet. We have one more game to show we’ve become a better team.
“If we get a result against Leicester, this journey has been a good one, but this is not the end of the journey.
“There are two teams [Liverpool and Manchester City] too far ahead of us, so we have to step it up even more.”
There will be a lot riding on this game. United could kickstart their summer transfer business on Monday once the transfer window opens and with Champions League football in the bag, they could start the ball rolling in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, who has been linked to the club for the last year. Solskjaer will be seeking the best from his team, which says a lot after their performances against West Ham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Southampton, which were not the best – probably with fatigue kicking in at the time. This is it for United though, the end of the season, at least domestically. Solskjaer concluded by saying:
“We’re looking forward to the game and we’ve given ourselves a good chance of the Champions League next year.
“But we can’t go in thinking about the outcome, we’ve just got to perform at a high enough level and get a result.
“We wanted to get into this position to go to Leicester. Now we want to go there, dominate the game and try to win the game.
“One lapse of concentration can hurt you, so we’re going to go into it in a strong frame of mind. We have one more game this season, this is a journey for this team and this is one extra step on the journey.
“We’ve come a long way mentally and shown more robustness and resilience, and I’m delighted with how the development looks.
“We’ve reacted well in some games, being 1-0 down in the last three at home and coming back to get results in all of them.
“We didn’t enjoy losing against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, but we got a result against West Ham and are now third – it’s fantastic to see we’re growing as a team.
“We’ve had some hard times this season, some setbacks, but we’ve shown this is a team going places and hopefully we can finish the season with a trophy in Europe and third place.”
Written by John Walker