Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League to go down to the last matchday of the season.
Fifth-placed United currently occupy the final Champions League qualification spot – unless Manchester City have their European ban overturned – and will move into the top four, at least temporarily, if they beat Bournemouth on Saturday, with Chelsea in action against Watford in the late kick-off, live on Sky Sports.
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United are only three points behind third-placed Leicester, who they play on the last day of the season, with Chelsea also facing a potentially decisive final day game against Wolves, who are currently sixth and level on points with Solksjaer’s side.
“I think the last round of fixtures is going to be vital,” Solskjaer said.
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“You have got Chelsea vs Wolves and us against Leicester – so it might be a three-point advantage for us or Leicester and it is still an important game.
“And I can’t see the difference between us and Leicester being a lot more than three points either way and it is the same with Chelsea and Wolves.”
“It’s looking exciting, It’s a short space of time and so many games in that time but I think it will go down to the last game.”
Ole: We’re nowhere near where we should be
United have been creating chances aplenty since the restart and are unbeaten in their last 15 matches heading into this weekend’s visit of Bournemouth.
After Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Brighton, Sky Football pundit and former defender Gary Neville warned United still have a lot of work to do before they are ready to compete with champions Liverpool and local rivals Manchester City.
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United are still 34 points behind Liverpool with six games left this season and Solskjaer hinted the club must get their summer transfer business right in order to bridge that gap.
“Gary is right about a lot of things and, of course, we cannot think we are there because of the table – we are nowhere near where we should be,” Solskjaer said.
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“Consistency has to be improved. We still have to improve on many aspects of the game and I don’t know how many points we are behind the top two. So Gary is right there is not going to be any complacency and thinking ‘this is it, we’ve cracked it’.
“We have got so much work to do but it is enjoyable and an enjoyable journey. You can see the improvement. So, yeah we need to make one or two very good decisions – or more good decisions – but it is going to be a very important summer definitely.
‘Sky is the limit’ for Greenwood
Solskjaer, meanwhile, says “the sky is the limit” for teenage forward Mason Greenwood.
Greenwood has enjoyed a superb breakthrough season at United, scoring 13 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions – a statistic made all the more impressive by the fact that only involved 18 starts.
“We have done well over the course of the season giving him more exposure and game time,” Solskjaer said.
“But from the bench or when he starts he is performing. He’s developed fantastically this season so the sky is the limit. It’s up to him. He knows what he can do, should do and must do to keep on playing [and getting chances].”
Analysis: Greenwood adding a new dimension at Man Utd
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate…
Greenwood is at home in this team now and it feels telling that he has now started back-to-back Premier League games. He has Solskjaer’s trust and he is part of this new-look line-up.
Greenwood is beginning to add a new dimension to United on the right side of their attack.
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