Man Utd boss Ten Hag sent Solskjaer reality check over title challenge

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Manchester United are not yet ready for a Premier League title challenge, claims Jamie Carragher. The Liverpool legend has highlighted how the Red Devils were top two years ago under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but ended the campaign a considerable distance behind Manchester City.

United’s recent run has got fans dreaming of a first title since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Erik ten Hag’s side are eight points behind leaders Arsenal but face the Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday.

The late draw at Crystal Palace in midweek perhaps brought some supporters back down to earth. But there has been undoubted improvement under Ten Hag in his first campaign in charge.

Carragher, though, thinks victory at the Emirates could be dangerous as it would raise expectations. United were top of the Premier League in January 2021 when Solskjaer was in charge.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag on Casemiro missing for Arsenal game

They ended up 12 points behind eventual winners City. Carragher has warned both Ten Hag and United fans not to get too emotional over their position, just as they did 24 months ago.

He wrote in his Telegraph column: “I suspect Ten Hag will have mixed feelings about the reaction should United get a result against the leaders on Saturday. Naturally, a positive mood is welcome.

“It can also be dangerous if expectation levels rise too soon. Those predicting a United title so early in Ten Hag’s reign would be wise to remember how two years ago Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were top of the league at the halfway point.

“Nobody beyond Old Trafford was fooled or surprised how soon it unravelled. Ten Hag is an upgrade on Solskjaer. That is already clear.

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“But rewind to January 2021 and it was staggering how few people at United were prepared to accept the reality that they needed a top-level coach. They were talking with the hearts more than their heads whenever United had a good result, and that ended up costing them time and money as they tried to get back towards the top.

“There was too much emotion and not enough logic and the same was true when performances were awful. One of the most recurring mistakes in football is when we overestimate how strong a side is after a promising run, and make rash statements about the long-term future when a big team suffers a dip.”

United will be without Casemiro for the trip to north London after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Selhurst Park. Wout Weghorst is in line to start again after making his debut on Wednesday.

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