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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer predicts tight top-four race ahead of Chelsea trip

Mark Critchley
·2-min read
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects the Premier League's top-four race to go down to the wire, despite Manchester United’s healthy advantage over Chelsea and other contenders.

United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday sitting in second place with a six-point lead over Thomas Tuchel's side, while injury-hit champions Liverpool are nine points adrift after losing four games on the bounce.

Leicester City and West Ham currently occupy the remaining top-four spots behind United and runaway leaders Manchester City, though even ninth-place Tottenham will harbour hopes of a late challenge.

Solskjaer has every reason to be confident that United will return to the Champions League next term after this season's disappointing group stage exit, but he believes the top-four race to be close.

"I think it’s going to be a long run in," he said.

"I don’t think the positions will be decided early, with this season it’s unpredictable we’ve seen teams going through bad phases then a run and who knows what’s going to happen with injuries and how players react to circumstances.

"It’s the shortest, long season ever with loads of games," Solskjaer added. "For me, every game is massive and of course Chelsea we know how difficult that’s going to be and how important that’s going to be for us."

Sunday's trip to Chelsea is the first of three consecutive away league games for United, with a visit to Crystal Palace followed by a Manchester derby at the Etihad next weekend.

Solskjaer believes this run will decide whether United can comfortably secure a top-four berth.

"The three games are massive. We’ve got Chelsea who are just behind us and we’ve got City, away, who are in front of us, and of course we can’t let them run further away if we have ambitions of catching them, and we can’t give Chelsea too much hope to catch us either," he said.

"Every game is important and now until the international break will be a big period of six or seven games we always say look at April and May to see how we are then. So, let’s get to the international break and then we can focus on the run-in."

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