Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prefaced Saturday’s derby at Old Trafford by saying his Manchester United team can win the Premier League.
Solskjaer’s United host neighbours City having just crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage with defeat at RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
But despite ongoing issues surrounding results and the futures of Paul Pogba and David de Gea, United are on a four-match winning streak in the league and a point ahead of City in the table.
Asked if the aim is to win the league for the first time since 2013, Solskjaer said: ‘I got belief during the season, or since the turn of the new year, that this team is improving and that we can put up a challenge.
‘Of course we need to improve on last season but I don’t think any team will run away with it.
‘I go into every single game wanting to win, so maybe that’s the answer to your question. If you win every game you end up with a with a trophy.’
Another vaguely chaotic week for United began with a comeback win at West Ham and was followed by a suggestion from Pogba’s agent that his time at the club was nearing its end and a howler from goalkeeper De Gea that contributed to defeat at Leipzig.
Solskjaer said: ‘Whatever anyone’s representatives say can’t really affect me. I’ve said what I wanted to say about that.
‘Paul is part of this team. He’s very focused on contributing. He’s got the hunger and appetite to play and wants to play. He will be in the squad.
‘And I think David is a top goalkeeper. For me he has handled criticism before and handled setbacks before.
‘He is a man that we really rely on.’