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Solskjaer fears Man United’s four-top rivals have a key advantage

FC Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears Manchester United are now at a disadvantage in the race for a Premier League top-four spot following their Champions League exit.

The Red Devils were soundly beaten by Barcelona on Tuesday to end hopes of a first semi-final appearance in the competition since 2011.

While United were shown the door, however, Tottenham overcame Manchester City to book their spot in the last four.

Meanwhile, fellow top-four rivals Chelsea and Arsenal also enjoyed successful outings in the Europa League this week by reaching the semi-finals on Thursday night.

Therefore, Solskjaer reckons that United’s rivals will get a welcome “boost” in the build-up to the final five Premier League games of the season.

“It’ll probably give them a boost playing those games. That’s what you want as a player,” said the United boss, via Sky Sports.

“We would have loved a semi-final to play in but that’s not the case so we just have to focus on the games we’ve got.”

The 20-time English champions will take a trip to Goodison Park on Sunday for a league match against Everton, who recently defeated Chelsea and Arsenal at home.

But Solskjaer is relishing United’s upcoming matches as it will provide his players a chance to bounce back from their Champions League quarter-final defeat to Barcelona.

“These three games coming up [Everton away, Manchester City at home, Chelsea at home], they’re our short-term focus,” said the Norwegian.

“We shouldn’t think about anything but having a great week ahead of us.”

He added: “It’s great to have games to look forward to and the focus will change straight away.

“Of course we spoke about it [the Barca defeat] after the game, ‘forget about it, we’re out, we want to be here again, and to be back at these stadiums again we need to get among the top four’.

“It’s a fantastic week to look forward to. The players are in a good state mentally. We know it’s going to be a hard game at Goodison, other teams have seen that as well.”

Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera could be in contention to make his first appearance for United since March 30 this weekend after returning to training.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Manchester United player Ander Herrera in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on January 2, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)