Kick-off between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford is less than 24 hours away and the build-up for one of the biggest matches of the year is starting to ramp up.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under increasing pressure at the club but after that embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, he has steadied the ship with a comfortable win at Tottenham Hotspur and a morale-boosting draw at Atalanta.
Victory over Pep Guardiola’s side on Saturday would put United level on points with their noisy neighbours, and Solskjaer has now detailed an important detail ahead of the 90-minute affair.
The Norwegian manager recalled the last Manchester derby in front of fans when Scott McTominay scored in added time to secure a much-needed three points in March 2020, and has now urged his team to start on the front foot as he aims to go five Premier League games unbeaten against United’s bitter rivals.
🗣"It's a special one of course…last time with the fans it was electric and we know it’s a one off game."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks his side need to start on the front foot against Manchester City pic.twitter.com/e5FDtXb3tW
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 5, 2021
“It’s a special one, of course,” he said in his pre-match press conference, as seen above. “The last time we had a Manchester derby with fans in the stadium, the atmosphere was electric.
“I think everyone will still remember that one, they’ll remember than one more than any dark moments we’ve had. When Scott scored that winning goal in extra time, that was a special moment.
“We know it’s a one-off game, it’s one of those where you have to start on the front foot, you have to start ready because a lot of it depends on who gets on the front foot.”
SN’s verdict on Solskjaer’s comments…
Manchester United go into the derby as underdogs, despite being only three points behind Manchester City and sharing an almost identical record to their rivals this season.
That’s just the nature of the game but Solskjaer will take comfort in his incredible head-to-head record against Guardiola, having not lost a Premier League game against the Spanish manager since 2019.
In previous meetings, high-pressing United sides have got the better of Manchester City and that could once again be the formula Solskjaer decides to adopt. The pressing style failed miserably against Liverpool but was used to great success the following week against Tottenham, albeit in a different system.
But clearly, as his comments showcase, Solskjaer is aware that failure to disrupt Manchester City’s passing moves could be fatal and therefore, starting on the front foot is crucial to their chances in this game.