Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2019-20Getty Images

‘Solskjaer completing long road back from Ferguson’ – False dawns clearing at Man Utd, says Pallister

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Manchester United approaching the end of “a long road back” to the top, says Gary Pallister, with the Norwegian allowing title dreams to be formed again after many “false dawns”.

The Red Devils have returned to the top of the Premier League table in 2020-21, with 36 points taken from 17 games so far.

Next up for Solskjaer’s side is a meeting with defending champions Liverpool, and a trip to Anfield will present an opportunity for another serious marker to be put down by an ambitious outfit.

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Pallister believes United can sustain a challenge for the English top-flight crown this season, with patience being rewarded at Old Trafford eight years on from their last triumph under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The former Red Devils defender told Sky Sports: “To hit the top of the table, albeit just after Christmas was a great feeling.

“It's been a long road back there and it's justification for Ole and the way he's been talking about his team - that they weren't very far away from clicking. To move to the top of the table justifies the work he's been doing.

“I'd love to say ‘yes, they can win the title’ and yes, I think they can. If I was a betting man, I would probably say it's an evens chance.

“They're playing some terrific football. That front three with [Bruno] Fernandes and [Paul] Pogba behind them, if they're hitting their straps every week or most of the time, I think they can challenge.

“We've had ups and downs with this Manchester United side. They've shown frailties at times and that's something Ole's been trying to address.

“We've had false dawns when Ole first came in, but then straight after the first national lockdown some of the football we played was fantastic. We then slipped into being sloppy and conceding goals at the start of games. If they can keep up this sort of level, then they can challenge, but it's all about finding that level more frequently.”

Gary Neville has said that United, who have gone four years without a trophy of any kind, should be getting excited about what they can achieve in the current campaign.

Pallister has echoed those sentiments, saying: “Let's get excited about it. It's been a long road.

“A club like Manchester United should be up there challenging most seasons and what we've seen since Sir Alex left hasn't been great.

“I don't think we played particularly exciting football or the brand of football we'd expect from Manchester United, but I think that's something Ole has tried to bring to the fore since he's come to the club and we're reaping the rewards right now.

“There's a confidence throughout the team. I'm not saying they're going to win the title. I think Liverpool and Manchester City are still going to have a say in the title race, but it's set up for such a big game on Sunday.

“If you can beat Liverpool on their patch that would send out a real message.”