Manchester United’s squad are not discussing a Premier League title challenge despite their dramatic upturn in form, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Wins over Sheffield United and Leeds United have moved the Red Devils to within five points of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
Former United captain Gary Neville has been among those to express surprise that the team find themselves in title contention, having previously made such a poor start to the campaign.
Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Everton in the EFL Cup also earned Solskjaer’s side a semi-final tie against rivals Manchester City.
Next up is a top-flight away game against Leicester City on Saturday, with manager Solskjaer acknowledging there is now “noise” about a title bid.
But he insisted that was not a subject of discussion in the United dressing room and that his players receiving so much praise of late was a different experience.
Asked about the title talk, Solskjaer said: “There is noise around Man United anyway so for us it is about improving as a team, taking one game at a time and we have to – that is the name of the game.
“That is the only way that you are going to challenge for anything at the end of the season anyway, so it is not something that we talk about.
“The only thing that we talk about and focus on is improving day by day and learning how to deal with certain situations.
“Maybe now at the moment we are getting praise and that is another thing to learn to deal with.
“It is game by game now, we have to think that way.”
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 24, 2020
United have won four straight matches against Leicester, with the last victory – a 2-0 away win in July – sealing a top-four finish at their opponents’ expense at the end of last season.
In addition, four of the Foxes’ five Premier League defeats this season have come in home games, while United are eyeing an 11th straight top-flight away win.
Solskjaer is a big fan of Leicester’s progress under Brendan Rodgers, though, and the home side sit second in the table going into the contest.
The United boss said: “We have had some good games against Leicester, very tight games.
“They are a very good side with a very good coach and I have enjoyed watching them under Brendan.
“It was a big test for us to go down there at their stadium for the last league game of last season in the summer. We passed that one with flying colours. I felt we really controlled the game.
“I know it is not going to be the same now because it is a different time of the season. They have some threats that you have to look for and we will just sit down and think about who is fit and who is not fit.”
Rodgers has said ahead of the game he expects striker Jamie Vardy to be passed fit after coming off late in the win over Tottenham last time out with “soreness”.
With 11 goals and four assists, Vardy has 15 league goal involvements this season, putting him behind only Harry Kane (19) and Mohamed Salah (16).