Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sends message to Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino

Man Utd’s interim manager has fired a warning to the Spurs chief as the top four battle hots up

has knocked Mauricio Pochettino out of the race for the Manchester United job – now he is ready to put him in his place.

Caretaker boss Solskjaer reckons he can steer United to third spot at the expense of Pochettino’s Tottenham .

Spurs are out of the title race after back-to-back defeats by Burnley and Chelsea and are now facing a fight to hold on to a top-four spot, with United five points behind and closing.

When Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho back in December, United were 11 points off fourth spot but they are now just a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal and ­gunning for third.

“It’s important to look upwards,” said Solskjaer. “The results have meant that we can challenge Tottenham now for that third spot.

“It’s us, Chelsea and Arsenal. We’re all chasing them. It’s going to be an exciting race and every single game is going to be very important. You need to make sure you tip the ­balance your way. We’re five points behind Tottenham and there are 10 games to go. We’ve definitely got a chance to move up the table and we’ll do our best to get up there.

“Every game is a big chance for the players to say ‘we want to stay’ and it’s the same for everyone around the coaching staff. We want to improve everyone, that’s our job. The better we do, the bigger the chance to be here.”

Solskjaer said he is relaxed as the race for the top four ­enters the home straight, with the 46-year-old backing his players to step up and deliver when it matters.

“I’m not a nervous guy,” said Solskajer. “I need to relax, I need to enjoy it. I think my players see that I do enjoy this.

“This is the best time of their lives, playing here. These are the times United players step up…when the going gets tough.

“You sign up for challenges, you sign up to rise to those challenges when you’re here.”

United still have Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea to play in the league, and travel to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League next week and to Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-final in a fortnight.

“You have to go out and ­perform on a stage when it matters, even if you don’t maybe feel like it. Those are the ­demands of a United player,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve got ­Arsenal coming up, PSG away, big games. These are the times that make them stay in the ­history of the club.”