Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects a “tight game” against Sheffield United this evening.
That’s despite the fact 18 places and 35 points separate the two sides in the Premier League table currently.
The Blades have endured an awful season so far, having won just one of 19 league games. At the halfway point they have five points.
Man United, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 13 top flight outings and are just a point behind leaders Manchester City. Victory tonight would send them top.
Solskjaer has gotten the better of opposition boss Chris Wilder on the three occasions the two have met since the Blades were promoted in 2019.
A exciting first meeting at Bramall Lane last season ended 3-3, before the Red Devils won comfortably 3-0 at home post-lockdown.
Before Christmas, the Blades ran Man United close once again in a 3-2 defeat in South Yorkshire.
“You get a hard game and you’ve got a team that is fighting for the manager,” Solskjaer told the Red Devils website.
“They’ve had a tough season this season, but you can still see that they’ve improved lately and they stay true to their principles and the manager’s principles.
“The tight game we had at Bramall Lane isn’t something we don’t expect now. It’ll be a similar type of game.
“That’s what you expect in every Premier League game, especially when you see the players they’ve got. Some of them have got the real x-factor and you know you need to be on your toes concentrating for the full 90 minutes.”
Solskjaer and Manchester United are a tough test
When the Blades finished ninth in 2019/20 and achieved their highest position since 1992 in the process, they relied on a solid defence.
Yet no side quite exposed them at the back like Man United did. They scored six against them in two games.
Eventual top two, Liverpool and Man City for instance, only managed three apiece.
That has continued into this campaign, with Solskjaer’s side netting three more on December 17.
Tonight’s task is made even tougher for the Blades because they will be without influential defender John Egan, who is suspended.
Egan was also missing for both meetings with the Red Devils last term – the only league games he was absent for.
Anything but another defeat against Man United will be considered a success.