(Reuters) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has attributed his side’s consistency this season to a change in mentality but has warned his players they cannot fake their way into the team given fierce competition for places.
United have risen to second in the Premier League table on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run and can move level with champions Liverpool at the summit if they beat fifth-placed Aston Villa later on Friday.
“Definitely the mentality is stronger,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Thursday.
“I think we have competition for places which means you can not go around thinking that you can just fake your way being part of this team because you only deserve to be in a team you contribute to.
“I think everyone has just realised they are privileged to be part of Manchester United, such a fantastic club with a fantastic history. When you are here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe experience some fantastic times.”
United will be without Edinson Cavani, who was suspended for three games after admitting a Football Association (FA) charge of using a racial term, while Victor Lindelof was also set to miss out as he nurses a back injury.
But Solskjaer is confident his side have the depth to cope.
“We have a strong squad,” he said. “We’ll be getting injuries and suspensions, that will happen, but our squad is well capable and ready for every game.”
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru: Editing by Neil Fullick