Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the bond between Manchester United players and fans is returning after completing a first Premier League derby double over Manchester City for 10 years at Old Trafford on Sunday. Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay took advantage of errors from City goalkeeper Ederson to keep United hot on the heels of Chelsea for a top-four finish, just three points behind the Blues. United have lived in City’s shadow in recent years, but have beaten their city rivals three times this season and are now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions.
“The desire, attitude, commitment, the connection between fans and players,” said Solskjaer on what had pleased him most. “What a day they’ve had today.
“It’s a derby. The fans love it, the players love it. You can say it’s only three points, but to beat a team like Manchester City with the problems we’ve had is fantastic.”
United move up to fifth in the table, which could be good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season if City’s appeal against a ban from European football for the next two years is not successful at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
And on this display, City seem to already be concentrating on completing a treble of cup competitions this season.
A seventh league defeat of the campaign for Pep Guardiola’s men means Liverpool are now just a maximum of two wins away from claiming a first league title in 30 years.
Guardiola insisted his side had played well, but midfielder Bernardo Silva described the performance and result as unacceptable.
“Not a good performance and not acceptable from us. A team like ours cannot lose this many games in the Premier League as we have lost this season,” said Silva.
“The reality is that the pressure is not on the Premier League. We know our position is not changing a lot because we won’t get to the title. I think we will be second to qualify for the Champions League, but it’s a derby. It’s important for our fans and it’s not acceptable to lose 2-0.”
City dominated possession early on, but badly missed the presence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne.
The visitors’ defensive deficiencies that have allowed Liverpool to streak 25 points clear were also obvious as Daniel James and Martial fired too close to Ederson with big chances on the counter-attack.