Man and boy: Rash on Reds academy

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By SA­MUEL LUCK­HURST sa­muel.luck­[email protected]

This is a dif­fer­ent group, a group that’s ready for the fight

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer

OLE Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer in­sists he is con­fi­dent the United squad has a dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity from the squad that were em­bar­rassed by Ever­ton eight months ago.

United face Ever­ton at Old Traf­ford to­day for the first time since their spine­less 4-0 de­feat at Good­i­son Park on Easter Sun­day in April that is widely re­garded as the nadir of Sol­sk­jaer’s reign.

Sol­sk­jaer ret­ro­spec­tively said he ‘felt peo­ple had given up’ in the sur­ren­der at Ever­ton and some did not ‘give what they have for the shirt.’

De­spite those damn­ing ap­praisals, Romelu Lukaku is the only player who ap­peared in the de­feat that United have sold, with Chris Smalling on a sea­son-long loan at Roma.

Phil Jones and Fred were sub­sti­tuted at half-time and have had wildly con­trast­ing sea­sons, and un­used sub­sti­tute Alexis Sanchez is half­way through a sea­son-long loan with In­ter Mi­lan.

Sol­sk­jaer seemed sur­prised when it was men­tioned Lukaku was the only per­ma­nent de­par­ture from the squad that day. “Is he? The group is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion now and they’ve got a chance, ev­ery sin­gle day in train­ing. But there won’t be any lee­way.

“You don’t play here if you don’t want to go in the same di­rec­tion as the ma­jor­ity of the group or the whole group. So if you’re the one or two odd men out, you’d prob­a­bly know.

“We lost quite clearly against Ever­ton last year. We’ve spo­ken enough about what hap­pened that day and how we looked. It was more or less a sham­bles.

“But I’ve said too many times this year as well, we’re not that group any more. This is a dif­fer­ent group, a group that’s ready for the fight and is ready for the foot­ball.

“Men­tal­ity some­times is strange to ex­plain. The mood in the camp is dif­fer­ent, def­i­nitely.”

United’s pos­i­tiv­ity con­tin­ued with the

4-0 stroll against AZ Alk­maar as they topped Group L. United could reach the League Cup semi-fi­nals with vic­tory over League Two Colch­ester United next week and are only five points off fourth­placed Chelsea in the league.

Sol­sk­jaer scoffed at the sug­ges­tion it was ever ‘ridicu­lous’ for United to fin­ish in the top four. “It’s never been ridicu­lous. It’s never ridicu­lous in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber. This club has never ever won the league by then. “”We’re not talk­ing about win­ning the league now but I’ve said all along this group needs time. We need to de­velop as a group and a team. And we are go­ing to be­cause they have the right at­ti­tude.

“I don’t think about it in De­cem­ber, not at all. There are too many games in De­cem­ber, Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary, March, April. You can’t start look­ing at the re­sult and out­come.

“We just need to keep do­ing what we’re do­ing, keep de­vel­op­ing this team, keep stick­ing to what we be­lieve in, im­prov­ing day by day.”

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer

Fred de­liv­ered one of his best per­fo­mances in a United shirt at the Eti­had

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