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Finishing third doesn't prove Solskjaer can revive United

Eamonn Sweeney


Talking Point

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Teamtalk: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addresses his players during a drinks break yesterday – the 33-point gap to Liverpool is the largest ever to separate United from England’s top-flight champions. Photo: Getty Images

Teamtalk: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addresses his players during a drinks break yesterday – the 33-point gap to Liverpool is the largest ever to separate United from England’s top-flight champions. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Teamtalk: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addresses his players during a drinks break yesterday – the 33-point gap to Liverpool is the largest ever to separate United from England’s top-flight champions. Photo: Getty Images

Manchester United have just completed their worst ever Premier League season and their worst in the top flight for 41 years.

That's in terms of the gap between them and the champions. It was 33 points this season, one more than last term. Two seasons ago, Jose Mourinho had them within 19 points of Manchester City. The serially derided Louis van Gaal finished his seasons 15 and 17 points shy of the summit. Back in the 1989-'90 season when United finished 13th, they were still just 31 points behind Liverpool.

The 33-point gap is actually the largest to ever separate United and the top-flight champions. Even when they were relegated in 1973-1974, the gap between Leeds United at the top and the Red Devils in the second from bottom spot was just 30 points. That's not a fair comparison because there were two points for a win in those days. When you convert the old system to the new, the last time United were this far off the pace was actually in 1979-'80 when they finished ninth under Dave Sexton in the season Trevor Francis became the world's first £1 million-pound player.