Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels Manchester United are “getting better and better” after edging past Burnley 1-0 on Tuesday to move top of the Premier League.
Paul Pogba made the breakthrough at Turf Moor 19 minutes from time to move United three points clear of Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s showdown between the bitter rivals.
It is the first time the Red Devils have occupied top spot this deep into the season since December 2012 in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign in charge.
United head to Anfield as the division’s only unbeaten side on their travels this term, winning seven out of eight, while going further back they are 15 without defeat away from home in the league.
And after seeing his side win for a ninth time in 11 unbeaten matches overall in the top flight, Solskjaer wants his side to take on the reigning champions with no fear.
“We are getting better and better. We’re almost halfway through the season but nobody will remember the league table on January 12,” he told BBC Sport.
“We feel very confident going into games. Away from home we have really done well. We have to believe in ourselves and we do.
Don’t stop this feelingpic.twitter.com/7sSVEq5u2P
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) January 12, 2021
“We’ve done a great job – it’s good times for us. It’s going to be a test against the champions, who have been fantastic, That’s a great test for us.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Solskjaer added: “They’ve had an unbelievable three seasons so we’re ready for it.
“But we’re ready and we’re excited, we’re hungry for it and it’s a test of character and quality again. We’re in a good position going into it.”
Despite their impressive away form, the clean sheet against Burnley was United’s first on their travels this season in the league, conceding 11 in their previous seven outings.
The visitors dominated a game in which their opponents failed to register a single attempt on target, though it looked as though it may be a frustrating day until Pogba converted Marcus Rashford’s cross.
A couple of controversial VAR calls went against United in the first half, including Harry Maguire’s header being disallowed for a perceived challenge on Erik Pieters.
That made the eventual victory all the more pleasing for Solskjaer, even if the scoreline was tighter than he would have liked.
“Frustrations were there for everyone to see – it affected our performance,” he said. “We can’t let that happen. Harry’s goal was a perfectly good one. Half-time helped us. We came out second half really well and deserved the win.
“I’d rather win 4-0 – it’s so much more comfortable. At 1-0 you have to see out one or two big moments. They pegged us back, you expect that. But we put our body on the line, of course the mentality is getting better. I’m very pleased with the spirit.”
Pogba’s last seven Premier League goals have all come away from home, this latest strike taking his tally for the season to four in all competitions.
“I’ve always said Paul is a big player for us,” Solskjaer said. “He’s a good character in the dressing room, someone the lads look to, a world champion.
“We’re seeing the best of Paul at the moment – he’s been injured and he’s had COVID so it’s natural to need to get back to fitness after that.”