Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can already label the 2020/21 season with Manchester United a record-breaking one after the Red Devils ensured a second successive finish in the top four of the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson.
Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani put United within one point of securing top four, and with it, Champions League football before Everton’s 1-0 victory over West Ham made it impossible for the Hammers to catch the mean from Manchester.
With Man Utd facing three matches within the next seven days, the result could not be better timed with Solskjaer desperate to rest his players although it may come too late for captain Harry Maguire who hobbled off the field against Aston Villa with an ankle injury.
Maguire had played every minute of the team’s Premier League campaign up to that point and Solskjaer has said that they hope he will be fit for the Europa League final at the end of the month but that a diagnosis had not been made yet.
“We have a final to look forward to,” said Solskjaer in his post-match interview. “Hopefully it will be with Harry Maguire, I don’t know. We’ve got to check him. It might be a few weeks, it might be a couple of days, who knows.
“Hopefully he won’t be too bad but I’m not a doctor and we’ve got to check him and scan him tomorrow. It was his ankle, lower leg, I think the boy landed on top of him, so he twisted his ankle and got a knock.”
With top four already secured, Solskjaer will now have his eyes firmly fixed on their upcoming final against Villareal with four Premier League games left to navigate his squad through before the trip to Poland.
The matches could provide the perfect opportunity to protect some key players who have played plenty of minutes this season with Fernandes, Shaw and Rashford three players that immediately jump to mind.
It could also give Solskjaer the chance to give some players the chance to make a statement ahead of the upcoming transfer window with new recruit Donny van de Beek still struggling to find space in the side while young defender Axel Tuanzebe is another who has found game-time hard to come by.
Whilst winning the Premier League is still mathematically possible for Manchester United after Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea on the weekend, the lure of a trophy has to be the focus of Solskjaer given that failure in Poland would mean the longest Manchester United have gone without picking up silverware since the dawn of the Premier League era.