Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dowplayed his team’s possibility to mount a title challenge after beating Manchester City 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday night.
A Bruno Fernandes penalty in the first minute of the game after Anthony Martial was clumsily brought down by Gabriel Jesus, placed United in front.
Then Luke Shaw scored in the early second half for United to inflict a first defeat on their rivals since November.
The result cut City’s lead over United at the top of the Premier League to 11 points and, while it may be a stretch to suggest the title race has been reignited, it has slowed what was looking like a procession.
“We just take one game at a time; City are too far ahead for us to think we can catch them. Last year we caught 15 points up on Leicester, but City are a different proposition.” Solskjaer said to Sky Sports.
“Even today they put us under so much pressure you could see we were playing against a very good team. When you come away with a 2-0 win and another clean sheet and a performance like this then you are delighted.
“Every game is different. We went back to be a little bit what we wanted to be and that’s being direct. That was the Anthony Martial of old. Until two hours before warm-up I wasn’t sure if he’d play. Today he rediscovered himself. He was really strong on the ball and very positive.
“We have to be positive, we’re a positive team. We want to play at a high tempo, but we have to defend well, you have to defend to attack the spaces that appear. There has to be a collective, no team in world football has a chance against them [City] without being a collective, hungry team who knows you have to defend well but also be positive on the ball.”
The result also extends a disappointing record Pep Guardiola has in the Manchester derby on home soil as United have won three consecutive away games in all competitions against City for the first time since a run of four between November 1993 and November 2000.
Next, City host Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday while Manchester United host AC Milan in the Europa League last 16 first leg on Thursday before returning to Premier League action at home to West Ham on Sunday.