Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Man United Biggest Winners of the Festive Period

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Apparently, the switching up of the line-ups and the overall rotations are really working for Manchester United, and their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Since November 7, the side is number one in the Premier League in: wins, goals, points and shots on target. In beating a very solid Aston Villa side at home last night, they became the first Premier League side to 10 victories this season.

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Now level on points with table-topping Liverpool (but still second, due to goal differential), Solskjaer expressed his joy with his team’s improvement.

“Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted with the three points and the performance, but there’s always stuff to improve on. Those extra two points are important,” the Norwegian said.

“We’ve improved. I think the league and the season is going to be so tight. We’ve just got to keep working and improving as a team. Every time you win a game you take one step further. You’ve just got to accumulate the points. They all count the same.”

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Solskjaer and United visit Liverpool on Jan. 17, a match that we just learned will not have fans due to the recent spike in COVID cases. Just as he shied away from openly discussing the league title race, and with it where he believes his side are, Solskjaer also refrained from hyping up that much anticipated clash between the two arch-rivals.

“We’ve got a big game on Wednesday against City, I’m not even thinking [about playing Liverpool] yet,” Solskjaer laughed as he referenced the upcoming Manchester Derby EFL Cup semifinal.

Solskjaer has dealt with a whole lot of derision this season, and the #OleOut pitchforks on social media were omnipresent in October and November. Crashing out of Champions League in the way that they did led to many United fans wanting OGS to be sacked.

Next to no one is calling for that right now as United emerged from the festive period fixture congestion as the biggest winners of all. They took on a gauntlet of a condensed schedule and emerged in a much better place than where they started.

“Of course we are happy with what we are doing, Solskjaer said to the BBC.

“We have shown we have improved a lot in a year. We lost to Arsenal away last new year’s day. We have improved immensely. We are getting fitter and fitter and stronger and stronger.

“These players have a great age. They are learning and are hungry to learn which is important. They come in every day with a hunger and desire to be the best on match day. They have been focused.”

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Will it be in 21 in ’21? Can United get their 21st league title, and the first since Sir Alex Ferguson retired? There is a long way to go yet, of course, but right now, there is no reason to think they won’t be in the mix all the way until Championship Sunday.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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