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Sports

Manchester giants look to extend lead over chasing Premier League pack

  • The former England manager has managed just one win in seven games, but Guardiola warned of Allardyce's ability to spring surprise results.
26 Jan 2021

LONDON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged his Manchester United players to show the relentlessness of champions when they welcome bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

United will be confident of extending a 13-game unbeaten league run in the league that has taken them to the top of the table against the Blades, who have won only once in the top flight this season.

However, Solskjaer's men could find themselves knocked down to second by the time they kick-off as Manchester City can go top if they beat second-bottom West Brom on Tuesday.

United's fine form continued by knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup on Sunday, winning a thrilling tie 3-2.

But Solskjaer is wary of his side slipping back into bad habits as they have done previously after good runs in his tenure.

"Now I want to see the reaction, how we can now mentally go again, against Sheffield United.

That's the challenge now," said Solskjaer.

"We have beaten Liverpool, and everyone is elated, very happy and they should be, but tomorrow morning I want to see players thinking about Wednesday night."

United could be without Marcus Rashford, who limped off with a knee injury late on against Liverpool.

But Solskjaer will be able to welcome back Bruno Fernandes to the starting line-up after he came off the bench to score the winner against the English champions at the weekend with a stunning free-kick.

City face 'genius' Allardyce

City sit just two points behind United with a game in hand to come after a 10-game winning run that has made Pep Guardiola's men favourites for the title after a slow start to the season.

Guardiola, though, will have to cope without Kevin De Bruyne for at least the next month due to a hamstring injury.

On paper, lowly West Brom should pose little threat to City, but they were the last team to take points off Guardiola's men.

A 1-1 draw at the Etihad in December still was not enough to save Slaven Bilic's job as Baggies boss as he was sacked the next day and replaced by Sam Allardyce.

The former England manager has managed just one win in seven games, but Guardiola warned of Allardyce's ability to spring surprise results.

"Sam Allardyce is a genius to take these teams when everyone believes it's over and get results," said Guardiola on Monday.

"If it happens once, twice or three times, OK you can say it's lucky, but that is not the case because he's done it I don't know how many times."