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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019

Solskjaer keen for first 'proper test' against Tottenham

Things could have been much tougher for the caretaker boss as far as fixture lists go, with a higher quality of opposition lying in wait.

The Manchester United caretaker boss.
The Manchester United caretaker boss.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER could not have hoped for a better start to his time as Manchester United’s caretaker boss, but admits that Sunday’s upcoming clash with Tottenham will be his first ‘proper test’.

The Norwegian has hit the ground running at Old Trafford since replacing Jose Mourinho at the helm, taking in Premier League victories against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle and seeing off Reading in the FA Cup.

Sterner tests await the former super sub, however, with a trip to Wembley to face high-flying Spurs – who themselves recently recorded a resounding 7-0 win over Tranmere Rovers – representing Solskjaer’s first clash against top-six opposition.

Win or lose, the 45-year-old is looking forward to seeing what level his resurgent charges are really at.

“Spurs at Wembley – that’s a proper test,” Solskjaer said after the Red Devils’ 2-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to that one because it’ll give me more of a reference as to where we are against the top boys.

“We’re not happy talking about fourth, fifth or sixth – in a year or two the club needs to move on and move up the table.”

Keen to play down a relatively kind fixture list at the beginning of his appointment, Solskjaer took time to highlight the difficulty in picking up points against any team in the top tier of English football.

“They’re never easy games,” he added. “We’ve lost points before [in those fixtures], there are no easy games in the Premier League.

“I thought it was a professional performance away against Newcastle – and today, it’s never easy when you make nine changes, but we still won all of them.”

Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez combined well for United’s second goal against Reading but the latter pulled up with a hamstring issue 25 minutes from full time.

Solskjaer, however, is hopeful that the Chilean will be available for selection in Sunday’s clash against Spurs.

“I hope it’s not going to be too bad,” he said. “It’s the same hamstring he’s been having trouble with but we’ll see. Hopefully he’ll be okay for next weekend.

“Everyone is considered. It’s down to what kind of tactics we use, who does well and who is fit. I know they are quality players.”

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