Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United are one of the most consistent teams in England despite their mixed start to the Premier League. United sat ninth in the table after nine matches going into the weekend, five points adrift of leaders Tottenham with a game in hand. (More Football News)
Solskjaer's side headed away to fifth-placed West Ham in a key game on Saturday that gave them a chance to win a fourth consecutive Premier League match. They were also seeking a ninth straight top-flight win away from home, a streak which is already their longest run in competition history.
While Wednesday's 3-1 home Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain dented morale, Solskjaer feels there is plenty to be excited about in the months ahead. And he rejected suggestions United are inconsistent, believing the 6-1 home loss to Spurs in October is playing a key part in the perception of their start to 2020-21.
"I know the narrative is that we're really inconsistent and I'm not one to argue too much, but if you look back from when the lockdown started or even from the end of the January transfer window, I think we're one of the most consistent teams in the country," Solskjaer said to Sky Sports. "Of course, the Tottenham defeat was made into a big thing, but we were 10 men, having had no pre-season."
"For consistency, you need to look at more than just two or three games. You need to be looking at 10, 20, 30, 40.
"Liverpool and Manchester City have been exceptional over the last two years, but there are still two sides too many ahead of us, in my head anyway, because I want us to be the best.
"Saying that, we have made real strides. The lows are not so low anymore, but the highs can be really high. It shows we are on the right track.
"The spirit is good. The players sense that we can move up the table and challenge for things this year."
What time does #WHUMUN kick off where you are?December 5, 2020
The West Ham match is followed by a critical Champions League trip to RB Leipzig and a derby at Old Trafford against Manchester City next weekend.
With three huge games in the space of eight days, Solskjaer is not worried by the possibility of the pressure on him increasing.
"I've been here so long so I feel I know everything there is to know about the pressure at Manchester United," he added. "Of course, when you are the one making the big decisions, it falls on you.
"But that's fine. I wouldn't have said yes to the club when they asked me to come if I didn't feel I was ready to make those decisions and take the consequences - either good or bad," the Norwegian said.
Meanwhile, David Moyes has so far done a brilliant job, winning half of their matches. And the Hammers are fifth in the points table with 17 matches after ten matches, one more than the Red Devils.
Ahead of the match, the former United manager said that he wants to change the perception of the club.
"I think most people probably saw us being near the bottom of the league after the opening games of the season, so the players have done a great job," Moyes said.
Head-to-head: West Ham have won their last two league home games against United and Saturday's clash was only the second time this century they went into a match between the teams sitting ahead of the 20-time English champions in the table.
Team news: West Ham forward Michail Antonio is uncertain after suffering another hamstring injury, while Man Utd forward Marcus Rashford remains a doubt. But Hammers are likely to have Andriy Yarmolenko.
Check match and telecast details:
Match: Premier League matchday 11, West Ham United vs Manchester United
Date: December 5 (Saturda), 2020
Time: 11:00 PM IST
Venue: London Stadium, London, England
TV Channels: Star Sports 1/HD, Star Sports Select
Live Streaming: Hotstar VIP, MUTV App
Argentina: ESPN Play Sur
Bangladesh: Star Sports Select HD1
Belgium: Play Sports 1, VOOsport World 1
Brazil: ESPN Brasil, Watch ESPN Brasil
Chile: ESPN Play Sur
China: QQ Sports Live
France: RMC Sport 1, RMC Sport en direct, Free,
Germany: Sky Go, Sky Sport 1/HD, Sky Ticket
Hong Kong: 620 Now Premier League TV, 621 Now
Premier League 1, Now Player
Indonesia: Mola TV, mola.tv, Mola TV App
Italy: SKY Go Italia, Sky Sport Football, NOW TV
South Korea: SPOTV ON
Norway: TV2 Sumo, TV2 Sport Premium
Pakistan: Star Sports Select HD1
Portugal: Sport TV LIVE, Sport TV2
Russia: Okko Sport
Sri Lanka: Star Sports Select HD1
UK: TalkSport Radio UK, SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports
Premier League, Sky Ultra HD, Sky Sports Main Event
USA: UNIVERSO NOW, NBC Sports App, SiriusXM FC,
UNIVERSO, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, NBC,
Uruguay: ESPN Play Sur
West Ham United: Fabianski; Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Coufal, Rice, Soucek, Masuaku; Bowen, Haller, Fornals.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial; Cavani.
(With Omnisport inputs)