Why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will trust his players on Sunday


When one of the greatest-ever United sides were in the midst of the climax to the Treble-winning campaign, it is easy to forget the goalless draw with doomed Blackburn Rovers. 

Solskjaer was on the bench as a team that had, in the previous month, beaten Juventus in the Champions League and Arsenal in a classic FA Cup semi-final replay, were held at Ewood Park without getting on the scoresheet. A point in the penultimate fixture had set things up for the last day at Old Trafford, when victory over Tottenham, rather than a draw, was required to win the Premier League.

Writing his United Review programme notes, Sir Alex (before his knighthood), apologised for mistakenly thinking his former assistant Brian Kidd was still capable of saving Rovers from relegation during the post-match TV interview. He had been so focused on our job that he was unaware the result was insufficient for them to preserve their top-flight status.

“I certainly didn’t get it right on television after our match on Wednesday, when I said I thought the draw would give Rovers a lifeline to stay up,” he said. “But that embarrassing moment should also tell you something about me and about my players, in the sense that it makes clear that our focus is totally on our own efforts, as we enter this momentous last phase of the season.

“For some time now, I have stressed to the players that our destiny is completely in our own hands and that they should not concern themselves with what is happening elsewhere.

“I know the players will leave their sweat and commitment on the pitch. I cannot think of a more honest bunch of players and, whatever the outcome today, I hope you will give them the welcome they deserve.”


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