Solskjaer outlines Manchester United’s areas of ‘great improvement’ ahead of Everton clash

Manchester United have certainly hit a vein of form following the Premier League’s winter break, a period which has coincided with the introduction of January signing, Bruno Fernandes.

The Red Devils have won three of their four games since the resumption of Premier League football, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one, closing the gap to the top four down to three points and progressing to the Europa League last 16.

Next up for Manchester United is a trip down the M62 for a game against Everton, a fixture which saw United hammered 4-0 last season, Solskjaer recently describing it as a ‘capitulation’, and the ‘lowest’ he’s been during his time at Old Trafford, though the former striker is confident his side are ‘a better team’ this time round.

“It’s a different game against Everton this weekend, it’s a landmark game for us,” the Norwegian told Sky Sports. “It’s one of these defining games: how far have we come?

“I’m 100 per cent sure we’re a better team, more equipped with dealing with advertising, dealing with different situations in games.

“I don’t want to speak too much about last year’s game, because it’s a totally different squad now. Yes, it’s a reminder to us that going to Goodison Park is always tough, you’ve got to earn the right to get anything from those games and I think Carlo has got his team playing really really well.”

One man who has seemingly triggered Manchester United’s recent upturn is Bruno Fernandes, the £47 million arrival having a hand in three of United’s five goals against Club Brugge on Thursday.

While speaking about the Portuguese playmaker, Solskjaer admitted that he was ‘delighted’ with his early showings, while highlighting his side’s ‘great improvement’ in a number of different departments.

“That little bit of spark he’s given us has helped the supporters, the feeling around the place is better. He risks passes, he plays forward passes, he takes chances. He loses the ball a few times but he’s one of those players – he looks good when he loses the ball. Delighted with him to be fair.

“Odion as well has given us something extra. We’ve missed that type of striker who’s been in and around the box to score tap-ins. We’ve had to score the almost perfect goal, but we don’t need that now.

“We’ve had a great improvement in our defending, consistency in clean sheets, a foundation to play from but we can’t get carried away. We’re close to the top four but we’re not there. Everton, City, Tottenham, Sheffield United – they’re our next four league games.

“We’ve had a few disappointing games and inconsistent periods, definitely. We’ve had some great highs, great games – City, Chelsea, Liverpool at home – loads of games when we’ve played really exciting football. But we’ve let ourselves down in other games.

“I feel we’re getting closer and closer to that consistency.”

Scholes and Hargreaves liken ‘sensational’ Bruno Fernandes to Man City maestro Kevin de Bruyne

See also – Everton v Manchester United: Match preview and form guide