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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoys top spot but ready for Liverpool test

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased by the dogged victory at Burnley that propelled Manchester United top of the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s “great test” at reigning champions Liverpool.

Paul Pogba’s deflected second-half volley secured the Red Devils a hard-fought 1-0 win in sub-zero conditions at Turf Moor, where Harry Maguire saw an opener controversially ruled out.

The result saw United go top at this stage of the season for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out as champion in 2012-13, giving them a three-point cushion over Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s trip to Anfield.

Solskjaer won six Premier League winners’ medals during his time as a player at Old Trafford and was glad his side regained focus after a heated end to the opening period.

“We’re almost halfway through the season so it’s a little bit of an indication of where you’re at,” the 1999 treble hero said.

“But no-one will remember the league table on the 12th of January.

“The frustrations were clear for everyone to see (in the first half) and it affected our performances, so we can’t let that happen.

“We’ve just got to accept once in a while that decisions will go against you and Harry’s goal was a perfectly good one, so it’s a decision we shouldn’t be sat there talking about.

Harry Maguire reacts after his goal is disallowed
Harry Maguire reacts after his goal is disallowed (Jon Super/PA)

“The foul against (Edinson) Cavani and the red card (that could have been handed to last man Robbie Brady), of course you go back to foul Luke (Shaw) did. I’ve not seen it yet, so I can’t really comment on that one.

“But half-time helped us. I thought we came out second half and played really well and deserved the win.

“Then Paul’s performance, I think him and Nemanja (Matic) in midfield played as players who know what this is about and these games are about.”

All eyes will be on Anfield this Sunday now as United look to go six points ahead of Liverpool, who moved an eye-watering 30 points clear of Solskjaer’s side with a 2-0 victory when they last met in January 2020.

“We’re looking forward to it,” the Norwegian said. “Of course you enjoy being where we are at any time. If it’s the first game or the last game, it’s a big, big difference.

“But at the moment we are where we are. We’re going to go in there knowing that we play against the team that’s been by a mile the best in the country for the last year and a half.

“They’re champions by right and we’re looking forward to it and it’s a great test of where we’re at against a good team.”

Burnley counterpart Sean Dyche was pleased by his side’s display in defeat to the league-leading Red Devils, although failing to grab a point naturally stuck in the craw.

Sean Dyche, left
Sean Dyche, left, speaks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at half-time (Clive Brunskill/PA)

“A lot of the performance was good, I thought, against a top side who are playing very well,” said the Clarets boss.

“We’re in good form ourselves but they are a top side, they’ve got some very good individuals as well as a collective.

“I thought a lot of our performance was good, it was effective and inevitably we don’t get anything from the game but the performance was certainly something we can build on.”

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