Thursday, September 16, 2021

Tottenham Hotspur presents Solskjaer with biggest Man. United test yet

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Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces his biggest task since taking over from Jose Mourinho on Sunday.

His team will be facing the man some believe could eventually replace him — Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs, third in the English Premier League standings, host sixth-placed Manchester United, who trailed them by 10 points.

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At Wembley on Sunday, it will be what is easily the toughest challenge for which Solskjaer has had to prepare his team.

Since Mourinho was sacked on Dec. 18, Solskjaer who was put in charge until the end of the season, has led Manchester United to four straight league wins.

In addition to this was an FA Cup third round victory over Reading.

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The fixture list was kind to the Norwegian, however, with Manchester United travelling to lowly Cardiff City and Newcastle United.

They will also host bottom club Huddersfield Town and an out-of-form Bournemouth.

“Spurs away, Wembley, that’s a proper test,” Solskjaer said this week.

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“We’re looking forward to that one. That will give me more of a reference for where we are against the top boys.”

As soon as Mourinho was sacked, media speculation began to focus on Pochettino as the favourite to take over as permanent manager at the end of the season.

While Manchester United have made no public statements of interest in the Argentine, who himself has declined to comment on what he has called “rumours”, there continues to be suggestions.

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These borders around the fact that the 46-year-old is the club’s main target.

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Solskjaer has been unable to conceal his evident desire to get the job on a permanent basis, however.

It will boost his case significantly if he could lead Manchester United to victory on Pochettino’s home turf.

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Spurs beat Mourinho’s Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in August and the London club have won each of their last three home games against Manchester United.

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English Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, hoping to bounce back from their loss to second-placed Manchester City.

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The loss cut Juergen Klopp’s side’s advantage at the top of the table to four points.

Liverpool has some injury worries at the back, however, with Dejan Lovren picking up a hamstring injury in the FA Cup defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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This put him on the sidelines along with central defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

Manchester City are at home to Wolves on Monday after a busy week of cup football for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Fourth-placed Chelsea host Newcastle United on Saturday while at the bottom of the table, there are two “six pointers’’ with bottom club Huddersfield at Cardiff and struggling Fulham at Burnley.


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