Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelöf and Luke Shaw are in a race to be fit for Manchester United’s trip to Burnley on Tuesday.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side take at least a point they will become Premier League leaders with 34 points, one ahead of Liverpool, before their visit to Anfield on Sunday. Pogba, Lindelöf and Shaw were absent from Saturday’s FA Cup third-round win over Watford and Solskjær was asked if the first-choice trio will be available to face Burnley and Liverpool. “I hope for Liverpool, definitely,” said the United manager. “But I’m not sure if they’ll make the Burnley one, it’s light training [Sunday] then we’ll see on Monday.”
Despite United’s chance to go top, the Norwegian played down the coming two matches as being a test of his squad’s mentality. “We’re not even halfway through the season, and every game in the Premier League is a challenge – they’re tests,” he said. “Every game is a different test. Watford – they gave us a test. Burnley is one test. Liverpool is another. Then you go to Fulham which is a different test again. No one will remember how the league table looked like on 12 January 2021.”
The victory against Watford came three days after defeat in their Carabao Cup semi-final at Manchester City last Wednesday and Solskjær was pleased United have put that result behind them. “We have good momentum – have started well again after the disappointment of City,” said Solskjær. “We bounced back really well with a win and of course we want to build momentum again – if we can get a win on Tuesday then when you win two games on the bounce you go into the next game confident. Every game in the Premier League is a chance to build more confidence.”
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013, United have not been as close to the leaders in January as they are this season, although Solskjær acknowledged that there is still a long way to go. “I think it’s great that our fans are excited, and they’re happy with where we are at and that we have this little sense of excitement,” he said. “But then we’re not even halfway through. Every game against Burnley, every game against Liverpool matters a lot anyway. For me, all my eyes are on Tuesday, and then let’s see where we’re at after that one.”