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Solskjaer determined to close gap on Chelsea

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the fourth Manchester United manager since Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford

LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 16 – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his players to do their utmost to beat Chelsea and revitalise their top-four ambitions.

After claiming just one point from a possible nine, United have slipped to ninth in the table ahead of Monday’s clash at Stamford Bridge.

But a win against Frank Lampard’s side will move the Red Devils back to within three points of the fourth-placed Blues, with fifth potentially opening up another route to the Champions League following Manchester City’s ban from European competition for the next two seasons.

Solskjaer, whose side beat Chelsea 4-0 at home on the opening day of the season, says three points on Monday night will give everyone a lift.

“A win gives us a three-point gap and, of course, that’s what we’ve got to aim for,” he said. “We’ve played them twice already this season and done well, but Chelsea are a good team. They are at home, but we’re going to go there to try to win the game.

“We’ve got to, to give us more belief and more hope and give us confidence that we can kick on, because we need to kick on.”

Following a disappointing 0-0 draw with Wolves before the winter break, United sit on 35 points after 25 matches, 38 behind runaway leaders Liverpool, and on course to score a lower tally than their previous worst of 64 in 2014.

But Solskjaer, whose position as United boss is under intense scrutiny, hopes his side’s mid-season break to Marbella will allow them to kick on in the run-in.

Odion Ighalo could be handed a United debut following his surprise deadline-day loan switch from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, though Solskjaer is keeping his cards close to his chest.

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Fellow new boy Bruno Fernades is also in line for his second outing after impressing on debut.

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