Solskjaer's Man Utd have spent less time in top four this season than Palace, Bournemouth and Watford

The Red Devils were a whopping 11 points behind Chelsea when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed interim boss.

Their incredible resurgence has seen them pick up 25 points from a possible 27.

A 3-0 victory away at Fulham on Sunday saw them leapfrog Chelsea into fourth with Maurizio Sarri's side humbled 6-0 at Manchester City.

It has been a long time coming with United fans having to wait 25 matches to occupy a Champions League spot.

It has been so rare this season that Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Watford have all spent more days in the top four.


The Hornets' terrific form at the start of the campaign saw them sit in fourth spot until their sixth game of the season.

Title-chasers Liverpool have spent 182 days inside the top four followed by Chelsea with 179.

Solskjaer will now turn his attentions to ensuring United remain in contention to qualify for the Champions League.

The Norwegian boss faces arguably his toughest test yet when United host Liverpool in their next league outing.

And next month they face back-to-back contests away at Arsenal before hosting Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

SunSport exclusively revealed how Solskjaer will be named the United boss on a permanent contract.

It is understood the decision has been made at board level, although the club may not announce it until the end of the season.

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Solskjaer's saved Pogba's Man Utd career just like Sir Bobby Robson saved mine at Newcastle

And it brings back memories of my situation when Sir Bobby Robson replaced Ruud Gullit at Newcastle.

Pogba has scored eight goals in Solskjaer’s nine Premier League games in charge, having netted just one in his last 12 league games under Jose Mourinho.

Likewise, I scored five goals in Sir Bobby’s first home match as manager against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999, after only getting one in nine Newcastle games before he came in.

As a player, you are well aware when a manager doesn’t want you at a football club.

And Pogba was well aware that Mourinho didn’t really want him at Old Trafford — and other players felt like that too.


There was a complete breakdown in the communication and relationship between the player and his manager.

And once that happens, someone has to leave.

But then a new manager comes in and all of a sudden he starts to tell you how good you are.

He shifts your position a little bit and tells you what you have been doing wrong.

Because sometimes you can’t see what is going on, and it might just be something simple in your game.

I remember having a meeting with Sir Bobby before our very first match together.

He told me that instead of coming towards the ball all the time, I should run away from the defenders.

It was something straight forward but I had never thought about it before.

As a player, it just takes a different voice or for someone to say to you, ‘This is what you need to do’.

Solskjaer has come in and spotted that with Pogba and he has completely changed his mood and form.

I know it is simple to tell him to get further forward or play the ball forward instead of sideways but it will have made him feel important again.

And you are now seeing a completely different person and a completely different player.

It’s not just his goals but his positional sense, his team play and just generally his body language.

Just look at the confidence he showed on the ball at Fulham. It was a great finish for his first goal at Craven Cottage but there is no way he would even have made that run or tried to shoot if Mourinho was still the manager.

Pogba has now scored more goals than he has ever managed before in a league season.

Yet with his ability, strength and athleticism, he has the potential to get ten to 15 goals from midfield every year.

Tomorrow’s Champions League tie at home against Paris Saint-Germain could not have come at a better time for him.

He goes into the game brimming with confidence, as do his United team-mates and the supporters.

You get the sense things are starting to fall into place for them, with Neymar ruled out of both legs and Edinson Cavani a doubt after getting injured against Bordeaux on Saturday.

I still have one or two reservations about United defensively. Yet Victor Lindelof has improved under Solskjaer and he will come back in after being rested at the weekend, playing alongside Eric Bailly or Chris Smalling, who also impressed at Fulham.

It is a mouth-watering tie and I can see United going through. And if they do see off PSG and then finish in the top four, they will have to give Solskjaer the job full time in the summer.

The impact he has had has been amazing. It’s like a big dark cloud has been lifted.

If it had been just one player underperforming under Mourinho, he would have been sold.

But almost all of the United team were and, aside from Alexis Sanchez, Solskjaer has improved every player's performance by at least 20 per cent.

From the moment Marcus Rashford scored that free-kick three minutes into Solskjaer’s first game at Cardiff, the confidence has been flowing back. It just takes that one goal and for something to change.

And then, instead of thinking about things, you start to do things naturally, and you are trying things you weren’t willing to try before because you were petrified.

I don’t see any benefit in making Solskjaer the permanent boss at this stage of the season. But after PSG, United visit Chelsea in the FA Cup, then host Liverpool in the Prem.

If they win all those, Solskjaer can probably start writing his own contract.

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How Solskjaer's brilliant man management has transformed Man United and why hiring Mike Phelan was a masterstroke, according to Wes Brown

The Molde boss was the surprise choice to replace sacked Jose Mourinho last month but seven straight wins including three points at Tottenham have put him in the frame to stay on beyond the summer.



And the decision to bring back experienced coach Mike Phelan after a six-year absence has also proved to be a smart move by the interim United boss.

Brown exclusively told SunSport: “Ole is a very good choice, he’s managed, he has been here as a player and understood it was a short-term deal.

“Everyone is delighted with how has started, Ole along with Mike Phelan have lifted the place and they are playing more attacking football with pace.

“It’s only the beginning but you can’t fault the start and seven (wins) from seven is something no one has done.



And Brown, who shared the same Old Trafford dressing room for eleven years, scoffed at the notion being banded around that it would be easy for anyone to succeed after Mourinho’s divisive time in Manchester.

Brown continued: “Is it? Anyone can say that, come on.

“I get it, a manager goes and everything was down, when a new man comes in, you do get a lift.

“He’s got the big and important players going and the goals scorers are scoring gaols and raring to go.”

Solskjaer is no stranger to managing in the Premier League.

He answered the SOS call from Cardiff owner Vincent Tan in 2014 but failed to save the Welsh side from relegation

Then after a poor start in the Championship, he was shown the door.

But Brown is adamant the Norwegian’s time in Wales will have no bearing on his work at Old Trafford.

He added: “He prides himself on man management, you say Cardiff, but no disrespect, but we are talking about different levels of quality.

“If anyone gets a chance to manage a quality team, you’ll get found out if you can’t do it.

“Ole had a tough time there, but there are world class players here and if he can get over how he wants them to play, he’ll be fine.

“Man-management is one of the best parts, the manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) would speak to the players when it was right and instil confidence.”


Fergie has returned from upstairs to play a more hands-on role, and the current United boss has made no secret of that he is leaning on the legend for advice, a move fully endorsed by Brown.

He continued: “The respect he has for the manager (SAF) and if he brings him in every now and then, that’s a good thing.

“During my time the manager would bring in Sir Bobby Charlton, he would speak to us, he’s a great ambassador and it lets players know what the expectations are and standards we have at the club."

And despite Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino being the firm favourite for the vacancy, the double Champions League winner cannot see past the man currently in the hot seat.

Brown declared: “I hope he gets the job full time, we’re at the start when a new manager gets that lift, but I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be in contention for the job.

“If it does continue to go well for Ole by the end of the season when his time up it will be difficult to bring someone else in.”

The five-time Premier League winner revealed during our chat he found around 200 United shirts in the house he has not seen for the best part of 15 years.

However, the discovery has failed to spark a trip down memory lane due to that old United mentality of quickly moving to the next challenge after winning trophies.

He joked: “Yeah, I’m trying to work out what games they were from – It’s funny as some of the fans will recognise them straight away.

“The manager would already say to celebrate winning trophies as they may not happen again.

“Sometimes when we won leagues we didn’t really celebrate, we would be buzzing in the changing room, but then it was about the next game.

“Never really thought about my career to be honest, since a kid that’s all I ever wanted to do."

His wife Leanne interjects: “He doesn’t realise what a career he has had and how respected he is.

“He can’t understand why people are interested in him."

The former United man added: “The experiences I’ve had with the club (winning trophies) it as like a normal thing to us."

Brown graduated from the Fletcher Moss Rangers Boys club in West Didsbury.

Jesse Lingard, Tyler Blackett both turned off for them alongside man-of-the-moment Marcus Rashford, who has been given a new lease of life under Solskjaer with five goals in seven games.

He added: “Ole is making him play to his strengths, his pace makes him a massive threat to defenders, I used to hate playing against quick strikers, especially as you get older.

“You can see Ole has been working with him, but a lot is down to confidence, he has a great start when he first burst on to the scene.
“But your second season is always the hardest, the expectation is there the second time around."

Wes and Leanne Brown are ambassadors for GoWebApp.

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