Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes Leeds United admission ahead of Manchester United showdown

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Leeds United's rivalry with Manchester United means a lot to him.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 2:41 pm
Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Pic: Getty

The Norwegian will lead his side out against the Whites at Elland Road for the first time as a head coach on Sunday afternoon in LS11.

Solskjaer knows all about the ferocity of the fixture between the two arch rivals, having been a part of a number of games around the turn of the century in the top flight during his playing days.

Leeds made their long-awaited return to the Premier League last summer after 16 years away, earning promotion under Marcelo Bielsa to set up a meeting with their old foe on level terms once again.

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The Red Devils make the trip across the Pennines to West Yorkshire for the first time since October 2003 in league action - and the Old Trafford boss is looking forward to a second encounter of the campaign with a club he knows well.

“They mean a lot to me," Solskjaer said during his pre-match press conference.

"We know the history about the Leeds of the old days, Super Leeds, that was the generation before mine. That was my dad's generation and he’s grown up with seeing them winning the league.

"I’ve played in some massive games against Leeds. We had a proper challenge from that team in early 2000s, with for example Eirik, Eirik Bakke, he played for them.

"We as a team got stretched against them, we looked forward to those games and we had some fantastic games. There was respect for the level, they stretched us.

"I feel the same now with Leeds team coming up this year. They’ve shown their quality and they’re going to stretch us. We have to be ready for this game, physically and mentally.”

Asked about a strange week for the game after the planned and then scrapped European Super League and whether it may create more hostility, Solskjaer added: "In a strange way, this situation has brought football together as well and fans together.

"Everyone understands, the players, the fans, they haven't been a part of this. A Man United fan, a Leeds United fan, they have the same opinion about this topic, so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.

"When you play against top teams anyway, when you play against your rival, you expect fans to support their own team."