Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is delighted with the team’s improvement, saying that they are winning tighter games and “developing all the time.”
“I feel the team is developing all the time. We’re better and stronger mentally, we know more about ourselves, the team is gelling better and getting over the line in tighter games, we’re winning tighter games. That’s been a big thing for us — those extra points have come from wins like Southampton away, Brighton away, Wolves at home — when you score the winner in injury time. Those were all very important points [to pick up], so we are improving and developing, yes,” the club’s official website quoted Solskjaer as saying. Manchester United currently hold the second position on the Premier League standings with 33 points, same as the table-toppers Liverpool. Notably, Solskjaer’s men have played 16 games, one less than Liverpool.
However, the manager stressed that it is ‘irrelevant’ to focus on the table at the moment and wants the team to get ready for the next game.
“The season for the fans is a different season compared to the players. I’ve been a player myself, I’ve been a fan myself, now I’m a manager and it’s different mindsets for all of them. Fans, yes you’re allowed to be excited, but I can’t remember one league table from a January that I was part of as a player,” Solskjaer said.
“I cannot tell you where we were on 1 January in 2002 or 1998 or whenever, so it’s irrelevant really. We just have to focus on developing the team and the way we play and the mentality, and be ready for each game,” he added.
Manchester United are currently preparing for the Premier League clash against Burnley, slated to take place on Wednesday.
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HOSTS WEREN’T AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH, SAYS PONTING
BRISBANE: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted he is a “bit disappointed” with how the hosts performed on day three of the fourth Test against India, saying that they allowed visitors’ batsmen to be “way too comfortable at the crease”. He said, “I was a bit disappointed with the way the Australians went about it, to be honest. I don’t think they were aggressive enough, didn’t bowl enough short balls. They let the Indian batsmen be way too comfortable at the crease… They almost bowled the way those batsmen would have wanted them to bowl. It wasn’t until we saw a bit of a barrage from Starc and even when Shardul got out (bowled by Pat Cummins), it was no surprise it was a ball after a bouncer. I don’t think the Aussies were anywhere near aggressive enough.”
AUSSIE SKIPPER TIM PAINE GETS TROLLED BADLY FOR DRS GAFFES
BRISBANE: Australia made a few bizarre review calls on the third day of the fourth Test against India which has led to captain Tim Paine coping with some criticism on social media. Paine had decided to review decisions for catches off Mayank Agarwal and later Navdeep Saini, both of which turned out to have missed the bat by a fair distance. In the 49th over, Agarwal missed a flick shot off Pat Cummins and the ball hit his thigh pads before flying into Paine’s gloves. Both the bowler and wicketkeeper appealed and after the umpire shook his head, Paine went for the DRS. The next incident came in the 103rd over which was also bowled by Cummins.
TEAM INDIA’S COURAGE CAN BE DESCRIBED AS ‘DABANNG’: SEHWAG
BRISBANE: Former India opener Virender Sehwag on Sunday lauded the courage shown by the Ajinkya Rahane-led side in the fourth and final Test against Australia. “Gabba the Dhaba for these two guys. If there is one word to describe the courage of this Indian team, it’s Dabanng. So daring and brave,” Sehwag said in an Instagram post. Former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman also praised the brave effort of the two young batsman and tweeted: “Congrats Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur on your maiden Test ‘50s. Loved the fight, technique and will power you both exhibited.” The partnership between Sundar and Thakur was the highest seventh-wicket partnership for India at The Gabba. Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar had earlier held the record when they stitched together a 58-run stand for the seventh wicket in 1991.
OUR PLAN WAS TO HANG IN THERE TO TIRE AUSTRALIA BOWLERS: THAKUR
BRISBANE: India’s Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar on Sunday kept calm and ignored the on-field chatter to frustrate a tiring Australian bowling line-up to add 123 for the seventh wicket and reduce the first-innings deficit in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba. “They were trying to have a conversation with me but I wasn’t answering them. Once or twice I answered them in one word but they were sort of normal questions. Even if they tried to sledge me, I just ignored it and kept on playing,” said Thakur after making 67 in the first-innings. “We weren’t looking at the scoreboard. The idea was to spend some time there. We knew that their bowlers were tiring and we thought it was a matter of one hour. So if we hung in there for one more hour then probably we would be on top,” he added.
SURE, I WILL GET A BIG SCORE: SUNDAR TO DAD BEFORE GABBA INNINGS
NEW DELHI: While fans are going gaga over Washington Sundar making a half-century on Sunday, his father is upset for not getting a Test century. Sundar scored 62 off 144 balls and shared a 123-run seventh wicket partnership with Shardul Thakur. “I am disappointed he did not get a 100. When Siraj came, he should have hit fours and sixes. He is capable of that. He should have gone for sixes. He could have gone for pulls and big hits. Perhaps, he thought of trying to come close to Australia’s total as the lead was very less,” father M. Sundar told IANS from Chennai. “I speak to him in Australia every day. I told him last evening whenever you get a chance, get a big score. He said, ‘sure I will’.”
Thailand Open: Marin, Axelsen win singles titles
Spanish Olympic champion Carolina Marin and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen won the women’s and men’s singles titles, respectively, at the Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament in Bangkok on Sunday.
Marin, 27, beat Chinese Taipei’s top seed Tai Tzu Ying in straight games in an ominous display of form as she prepares to defend her Olympic title later in the year in Tokyo. Tai was limited to a single digit score in the first game and while she fought hard in the second, Marin ended up winning the match 21-9, 21-16.
Axelsen, meanwhile, recorded his second consecutive tournament win with a 21-14, 21-14 win over Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long. Axelsen had earlier won the All England Open Championship in March.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu beat Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-15, 21-12 to win the women’s doubles final.
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