Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United’s January additions can help the team find the consistency they need to secure a Champions League spot.
United signed Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo in the transfer window to boost a squad contesting a fierce battle for a top-four place in the Premier League.
Solskjaer’s side have enjoyed the highs of an away win at Manchester City and a league double over Chelsea, while they are the only team to have held champions-elect Liverpool to a draw.
But United fans have also had to endure embarrassing defeats at home to Crystal Palace and Burnley, and away losses at the likes of Bournemouth and Watford during this campaign.
“We’ve had a few disappointing games, definitely,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
“We’ve had inconsistent periods, we’ve had some great highs, great games… loads of games we’ve played really exciting football. And then we’ve let ourselves down in games we’ve dominated.”
However, United are unbeaten since adding Fernandes and Ighalo to their squad last month, with the former having scored in each of his last two appearances.
“That little spark he’s given us, he’s come in and the feeling around the place is better, ” Solskjaer said about the Portugal international.
“He plays forward passes, he takes chances. He loses the ball a few times but he’s one of the players who looks good when he loses the ball because it’s a good attempt, and he wins the ball back. Delighted with him.
“Odion as well, he’s given us something extra. We’ve missed that type of striker who has been in and around the box and having some tap ins.
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“We’ve had to score more or less perfect goals to score. We don’t need that now.
“We’ve got players who can strike the ball from outside, we’ve got a striker in the box so I feel we’re getting closer and closer to that consistency.”
United’s next four scheduled league games are all against teams battling for Europe, starting with Sunday’s trip to Goodison Park – a ground where Solskjaer’s side were thrashed 4-0 last season.
But United go into the clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions that has included six clean sheets.
“I don’t want to speak too much about last year’s game because I can see a totally different squad now,” the United boss added.
“It’s a reminder for us that going to Goodison Park is always tough and you have to earn the right to get anything. I think Carlo has also got his team playing really, really well.
“We’ve had a great improvement in our defending, consistency in clean sheets, a foundation to play from. But we can’t get carried away.
“We’ve got close to the top four but we’re not there. Everton, City, Tottenham, Sheffield United, they’re our next four league games.”