The Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has acknowledged his team needs to quickly improve if they are to mount a challenge for the Premier League title this season.
The Old Trafford club have not won a league game for more than a month since they beat West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium at the end of September.
They have taken just one point from their last three league games, losing 1-0 to Aston Villa, drawing 1-1 with Everton and last weekend losing 4-2 to Leicester City.
“We’ve lost some points recently that we’re not happy with, but we are in the situation we’re in and we have to take it from here and really get going,” the Norwegian manager said ahead of his side’s game against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.
“There’s no time to lose. Even though it’s a long season the teams we’re competing against are not going to give you too many options to catch them.”
“We’re competing at such a high level in the Champions League and Premier League that if you switch off, you will be punished. But I’d expect us to improve in the next couple of months, definitely.”
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] has been here for a month, Jadon [Sancho] two months, Marcus [Rashford] is just coming back. Edinson [Cavani] had a longer run-up to when he could join us.”
“So I expect us to improve, definitely. Edinson and Cristiano are two of the best box players in world football. It is exciting to have these types of players to work with.”
On Wednesday night Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late goal to secure a 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta in the Champions League to bring his total to six goals in eight games since returning to Old Trafford in August.
“He’s played this game 500 times before, he’s been in that situation so many times, and it’s one of them: ‘I know what [Luke Shaw] is going to do, I know where I need to be and I’m still capable of doing it’. That is key.”
“He’s changed his position from being a wide forward into more of a box centre forward because he knows how to score a goal, he wants to score goals. When he first came, with all the tricks and the pace, he had the hunger, and he’s still got the hunger.”
Solskjaer believes Ronaldo is only now approaching full fitness and will start to play an even bigger role in United’s season.
“When Cristiano came to us, he’d not had a proper pre-season at Juventus and you can see he’s gradually getting fitter and fitter. Now he feels: ‘I’m getting towards the level I know I can be’.
“Wednesday night, the focus, the physical effort, the run…he had the highest amount of sprints, the longest sprint distance, the longest high-intensity distance.”
On Sunday United face their toughest game of the season so far when they host Liverpool, who have not lost in the Premier League this season.
“It’s a massive rivalry because of the history of the two clubs and the amount of titles and trophies we have won,” Solskjaer has said. “There is a history between the two cities and the two football clubs. It’s a rivalry you have to embrace.”
“You have to hold your hands up and say they are a very good club and a very good team. And you have to make sure you’re better than them.”
“For the last four years they have been tremendous, and we’re chasing them. But we have taken steps, and the next step is to be above them again. Last season is history and hopefully this season we can achieve something better.”