Man Utd eyeing third in Champions League race as Solskjaer hails Matic

Omnisport

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the in-form Red Devils are eyeing third position in the race for Champions League football after outclassing Sheffield United 3-0.

Anthony Martial scored his first senior hat-trick as United kept their Champions League bid on track against the Blades at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

A first-half brace set the tone before Martial became the first United player to score a Premier League hat-trick since Robin van Persie in 2013.

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The comprehensive victory extended United's unbeaten run to 13 matches in all competitions, with Solskjaer's men fifth in the table – two points behind Chelsea and six adrift of stuttering third-placed Leicester City.

Asked about United's run-in with Leicester dropping points, Solskjaer told reporters: "I've never said fourth is our aim! We want to go third or fourth, but we have to focus on each game as it comes."

United won the opening leg of their Europa League last-16 tie against LASK 5-0 prior to the coronavirus pandemic, while they also earned an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Norwich City.

"There are two cups [the Europa League and FA Cup] there for us as well, so one game at a time and hopefully, by the end, we can have the points we need and maybe only have two teams in front of us," Solskjaer continued.

All eyes were on Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba as the star duo started together in United's midfield for the first time in Manchester midweek.

But Nemanja Matic – who had been tipped to leave United at the start of the season following his initial struggle for first-team football – produced another impressive performance in the middle of the park, which earned praise from boss Solskjaer.

"Nemanja is playing some of his best football I have to say," Solskjaer said post-game.

"He's had a good pre-season for the first time in many, many years. Today as well, he dictated the game out there. His experience is vital for us.

"I'm very, very happy we've seen the best of Nemanja. He will be important for us. It's down to performances and if Nemanja wants to stay but at moment he is playing fantastic."

United are back in action with the FA Cup clash against Norwich on Saturday.

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