After the much anticipated news of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s managerial position being made permanent by the club, the first target, and the target for all of his short tenure is to reach the top four.
A quarter-final of the Champions League against Barcelona is a nice distraction but qualification for next season’s Champions League is the number one priority for Solskjaer. Especially if he has desires to challenge for the Premier league title next season.
To attract the type of players needed to help in his bid to be the first post-Fergie manager to win the league, Champions League football is a must.
To get within touching distance of the top four, after what was an awful first half of the season under the old regime is an achievement within itself – but not enough for the trophy focused Solskjaer.
United have a home and away fixture against Barcelona in April, alongside five Premier League matches – including a mouth watering Manchester derby.
However, there are two matches that are a must win for the Red Devils in order to strengthen their chances of Champions League qualification come the end of the season.
Let’s take a look at the two fixtures in question…
Away v Wolves – 2nd April
Having lost the FA Cup tie a couple of week ago with a lacklustre performance that United fans haven’t seen since Solskjaer took over the wheel. The Red Devils will be looking for a better result against a very good Wolves side, and one that, although are not a direct threat to United in terms of the top four, are a team that have done very well against the top six sides this season.
A tricky away tie at the start of the season could set the tone for what is a difficult month ahead.
Home v Chelsea – 28th April
United end the month with a home match against rivals Chelsea. Lucky it’s not away, as United’s record at Stamford Bridge is very poor.
Should Man United be either in the top four or on the cusp of it, this tie should all but indictate where they will finish come the end of the season.
Chelsea are always a tough side to beat, however, United have beat them recently in the FA Cup – coincidently at Stamford Bridge. This should give Ole’s men a confidence and experience to draw on, in what could be a season defining tie.