OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has lit the blue touch paper ahead of Wednesday’s derby by saying Manchester City “snap at your ankles and kick you”.
Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing City side visit Manchester United knowing that three points would take them back above Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table and put them in pole position to retain the title with three games to go.
Yet United are also desperate for the win, having slipped to sixth in the table following a rotten run of results since their improbable Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the start of March.
And Solskjaer, whose team have lost six of their past eight games in all competitions, has followed the lead of his predecessor Jose Mourinho by indulging in some mind games prior to the City clash.
“We’ve got to be ready for the press, for their pressing because they’ve got quality on the ball,” Solskjaer told reporters at a news conference.
“We’ve got to defend well. When we win it, we’ve got to be ready for their aggression, they will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you.
“They are not going to allow us easy counter attacking. There will be fouls, absolutely no doubt about it, because when you watch them in games they commit so many players forward. They will be stopping us as high as they can, I think.”
The desire of United’s players was questioned after Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing at Everton. Solskjaer revealed that his squad held talks following that drubbing and insists the visit of City is the ideal chance for them to show a response at Old Trafford.
“That’s the best game we could ask for now, with players hurt, as they were definitely were,” he added. “We had a meeting after the [Everton] game and you can see all the players are definitely, definitely disappointed, but really, really hurt by that performance.
“The City game is the perfect one, there’s no hiding place on the pitch. Our fans will back you whatever result there will be as long as you give that effort. Against a City side that’s been very, very good, we have got to turn up.”