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Solskjaer relishing renewed hostilities between Man Utd and Leeds

By AFP
18 December 2020   |   5:12 pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is relishing Manchester United's first competitive match against Leeds United in nine years on Sunday, recalling 'fiery' encounters during his time as a player in the Premier League.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on prior to the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United at Pride Park Stadium in Derby, central England on March 5, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is relishing Manchester United’s first competitive match against Leeds United in nine years on Sunday, recalling ‘fiery’ encounters during his time as a player in the Premier League.

The Norwegian came on as a substitute in the last Premier League meeting between the two sides in February 2004, months before Leeds tumbled out of the English top-flight.

They have met twice in cup competitions since then.

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Leeds, then playing in the third tier, pulled off a giantkilling in the 2010 FA Cup, beating their bitter rivals 1-0 in the third round at Old Trafford before United avenged that with a 3-0 win in the League Cup a year later.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds have attracted rave reviews for their thrilling style under the Argentine and will travel to Manchester full of confidence after a 5-2 trouncing of Newcastle on Wednesday.

United are also buoyant after coming from behind to beat bottom side Sheffield United 3-2 on Thursday — climbing to sixth in the table.

“I can’t wait,” said Solskjaer. “It’s been too long, of course. I know how much it means for our supporters, I know how much it means for our club.

“It’s a different type of Leeds coming up with a coach that’s really done a great job with them and will test us to the limit.”

Solskjaer said he had enjoyed his regular clashes with Leeds as a player and his two goals in a 4-3 win for Alex Ferguson’s men in 2002 were a particular highlight.

“There were fiery games, tackles flying in, players from both teams who were winners,” he said. “We had a few fights, of course.

“Elland Road wasn’t the quietest place when we came off the coach walking into the stadium and in the stadium, put it that way.”