Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for Manchester United to ‘start on the front-foot’ ahead of a ‘special’ derby meeting with Manchester City.
United host their cross-town rivals in a huge Manchester derby clash at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, with both sides seeking a positive result as they bid to remain in touch with the division’s leaders.
Solskjaer’s side head into the fixture on the back of a much-needed 3-0 win at Tottenham last weekend and the Norwegian insists the Red Devils have moved on from their home humiliation against Liverpool last month.
“We’ve moved on from that one, of course, it’s gonna be in the history books but we’ve had a good week, good results away from home, different games, we’ve got to go in this game believing we can do good things. It’s a local derby and everyone knows what’s at stake,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a special one of course. The last time we had a Manchester derby with fans in the stadium the atmosphere was electric, everyone will still remember that one more than dark moments we had. W
“When Scott (McTominay) scored that goal in the extra time it was a special moment. It’s a one-off game, have to start on the front foot, ready, because a lot depends on who gets on the front foot.”
Solskjaer heads into the clash with a strong recent record in derby fixtures, with the United boss the only manager to have faced Pep Guardiola on four or more occasions and possess a winning record.
Solskjaer has won four of his eight derby clashes and the Red Devils are unbeaten in the past four Premier League meetings between the sides, winning three of those fixtures and conceding only one goal during that time.
He was, however, keen to look only at tomorrow’s meeting and says his side will need both a good performance and ‘luck’ to secure a result.
“No, you look at the next game, I’m not one to talk about what I’ve done,” he said.
“I’ve got great respect and admiration for Pep and what he’s done, we’ve had some good results and tight games, we need another performance like this. Sometimes you need luck, we know this game we have to suffer a lot but we have to believe, trust ourselves because we’re at home and have had a couple of good results.”
Solskjaer confirmed that Victor Lindelof is a doubt for the clash, with Eric Bailly expected to retain his place after impressing against Atalanta in midweek – the Red Devils already without summer signing Raphael Varane.
“He’s (Lindelof) still a doubt, but hopefully, he can come back in tomorrow and say he’s ready… I would expect him to be ready, put it that way but I can’t promise you.”
As for Raphael Varane, he added: “With all the technology now you expect him to be out for four or five weeks with the scans. It’s a blow for us. Raphael has come in and been really really influential. Eric [Bailly] came in last time and was excellent. That’s why we have a big squad and cope with absentees.”