Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has warned his players not to pay so much attention to the hype ahead of their game against a resurgent Southampton team on Monday.
The Red Devils look to be heading in the right direction since the Norwegian took over the team, having been faced with a lot of disastrous performances since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
The team have continued from where they left off before the coronavirus-enforced break, going on to maintain a 17-games unbeaten run stretching back to January.
By so doing, United also become the first Premier League to win by three goal margin in four consecutive games following their 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Thursday.
With four games left to be played, the Manchester side fancy their chances of securing qualification for next season’s Champions League. And Solksjaer has issued a warning to his boys over complacency threats against Southampton on Monday.
“We’ve had an up and down season,” Solskjaer said. “We started fantastically well against Chelsea, got a great win, played some very good football. Then we got a setback and of course I think the players have stuck to the task in hard times, difficult times, believed in coaches, believed in what we’re trying to do and trusted us when results haven’t gone great.
“We just want to keep on working and now the results are coming, the excitement is coming, now it’s time to keep your feet on the ground, keep working, keep doing the right things. Don’t believe in all the hype or the praise. That’s not their job. Their job is to perform when they play, same as don’t believe in all criticism when you don’t do well.
“Trust your team-mates, trust yourself and now you can see the end is not too far away. It‘s a strange one because we’ve been out for so long. It’s only four games left of the season so the goal is getting close.”
Since their 0-9 loss to Leicester City in the top-flight, the Saints have turned things around with Ralph Hasenhuttl getting his side to believe once again.
“Southampton’s a very fine football club with traditions and you can see it is a proper football club,” Solskjaer said. “I wasn’t expecting any changes (after the 9-0). I’ve followed Ralph’s time there and you know what he’s doing. I’ve got huge respect for the way that both the club and they have turned it around.
“Let’s call it a German, aggressive rock and roll style of football. It’s direct, it’s high energy, it’s hard work, but it’s difficult to play against.
“And if you want to be part of his team, you’ve got to be able to run 10km, 11km, 12km. You’ve got to be able to sprint.
“We’ve watched quite a few games and I really enjoy watching them because it’s high entertainment and high energy all the time.”