Manchester United players celebrate Marcus Rashford's goal against Newcastle
Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Ander Herrera said he is not thinking about a top-four finish even after Manchester United racked up a fourth straight win in the Premier League to edge closer to the Champions League qualification spots.
Caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho last month, has now matched former United manager Matt Busby’s record of winning his first four league matches at the helm.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku and the sparkling Marcus Rashford did the damage in a 2-0 win at embattled Newcastle on Wednesday, enabling United to cut the gap to Chelsea in fourth place to just six points.
United were 11 points off the pace when Mourinho was fired but Herrera is not allowing his mind to wander too far ahead.
“When I saw we were maybe 12 points behind, I decided not to think about it, go game-by-game and that’s what we did,” the Spaniard told Britain’s Press Association.
“That’s what I did at least, and things are going well, so I don’t want to change. I am not going to think about that.
“If we continue this run, we will be closer to the top four but it’s not something that kills my mind right now.”
United’s next match against Spurs at Wembley looks tough but United will head there on January 13 buoyed by just their third clean sheet of the Premier League campaign.
“Very important for (goalkeeper) David (de Gea),” said Herrera. “We wanted to make David happy because he was a little bit disappointed the last games.
“I had to cope with him after the game, killing my mind, telling me that he wanted a clean sheet and I’m happy for him as well because he got a clean sheet.”
De Gea is likely to be rested for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash against Championship strugglers Reading, just as Paul Pogba is expected to be.
The 25-year-old was marginalised by Mourinho but has started all four matches under Solskjaer, scoring and providing goals as well as making an impact off the field.
“He is very important for the club – (on) the pitch and out of the pitch as well,” Herrera said of Pogba, who limped out of St James’s Park on Wednesday after some rough treatment.
“He’s playing really, really well, not only with the ball. I think as soon as we lose the ball he is ready to defend, ready to help the team.
“He is playing very simple and effective in our half, and then when he is in the opponent’s half he has that magic to change the game, so we are really happy for him.”