‘We Have To Be Realistic’: Solskjaer Promises ‘Responsible’ Transfer At Man Utd

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have to focus on realistic and responsible business as they target improvements to their squad during the coronavirus pandemic.

Next Monday marks a year to the day since Old Trafford last welcomed fans, with a full house roaring the hosts to a 2-0 derby victory against rivals Manchester City.

United have not beaten a traditional “big six” rival in the Premier League since and Solskjaer’s second-placed side are already 15 points behind City with just 12 matches remaining.

READ ALSO: [‘A New Chapter:’] Nigerian Star Ighalo Joins Saudi Club Al Shabab

The Norwegian knows there remains work to do if they are to bring success back to the club but Covid-19 has changed the landscape.

“We have to be realistic, we have to be responsible in the way we do our business both on and off the pitch,” he said.

“There’s improvements on the training ground, stadium. We just have to look at the whole picture.

“Where can we spend the money? And how much is there? It’s just the real world now. It has changed.”

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 1, 2020. Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP
File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 1, 2020.Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP

 

Solskjaer said young players at the club’s academy could be handed opportunities as a result of the changed circumstances.

“Of course, all clubs in the world are going through the same situation so it’s no different for other clubs than for us,” he said.

“I think there’s just going to be less and less transfers happening in the world of football until this changes.”

United left their transfer business until late last summer, with free agent Edinson Cavani arriving on deadline day on a contract until the end of the season with the option of a further year.

The 34-year-old striker’s future remains unclear beyond the end of this campaign and talk about a long-term solution continues, with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland regularly linked with a move to Old Trafford.

“I always say that Mason (Greenwood), Anthony (Martial), Edinson… when we can really get them really firing that means we’re a very good team,” he said.

“But we’re always looking at better players, of course we are.”

AFP

19-Year-Old Mason Greenwood Signs New Four-Year Deal With Manchester United

Manchester United’s English striker Mason Greenwood runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on February 14, 2021. (Photo by Nick Potts / POOL / AFP)

 

Mason Greenwood committed himself to Manchester United till 2025 on Tuesday with the club’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying it is his responsibility to ensure the winger “reaches his phenomenal potential”.

The 19-year-old’s new and improved deal which includes a one-year extension option comes after a series of impressive performances since he broke into the first team.

Greenwood has been with the club since the age of seven and gone on to make 82 first-team appearances and earning himself one England cap.

Solskjaer handed Greenwood his debut against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in March 2019 and has been delighted with his progress.

“Mason is a fantastic talent and yet another fine example of the type of player that our academy produces,” said Solskjaer.

“He has made great progress this season, showing real maturity and adaptability to his game which has seen him develop into one of the best young players in the country.

“Whilst it is easy for people outside of the club to forget that Mason is just 19, it is our job as coaches to ensure he reaches his phenomenal potential and every step we take is to help him along that path.”

Greenwood for his part said it was thanks to the United Academy he had realised his dream of playing first team football.

“When you join the club at seven years old you just dream of playing for the first-team one day,” Greenwood said.

“I’ve worked so hard to reach this level and the last two years have been amazing.

“I want to thank the academy for everything they have done for me and for their continued support to this day.”

Greenwood — who has scored four times in 29 appearances across all competitions this term — said he wanted to reciprocate the faith shown in him by helping United win silverware.

“There is so much that I want to achieve in the game and I know that this is the perfect environment to play my football.

“There is a lot more to come from myself and this team and I am so committed to working week in, week out to help the group achieve success.

“I want to repay the club for the support that everyone has given me over the years and show everyone just what I am capable of.”

Solskjaer Brands Racist Abuse Of Man Utd Players ‘Disgusting’

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said racist abuse aimed at Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe following Manchester United’s shock defeat against Sheffield United this week was “unacceptable and disgusting”.

Both players were attacked on social media following Wednesday’s 2-1 home defeat by the Premier League’s bottom side, which prevented the Red Devils reclaiming top spot.

United issued a strongly worded statement on Thursday demanding stronger measures against “mindless idiots”.

Solskjaer echoed that message at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“It’s just incredible we have these scenes still, this abuse in 2021,” said the Norwegian, whose side play Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.

“We’ve been campaigning for a long time now with the Premier League and I think it’s working, but there are still some people that haven’t got it.

“They hide behind social media, be anonymous and it’s unacceptable and it’s disgusting.”

Solskjaer said 23-year-old Tuanzebe, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but was brought up in England, was “fine”.

“I’ve spoken to him and, of course, it’s not nice but he’s a strong boy, strong character, got support from his family,” said the United boss.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Title Hopes Hit By Sheffield United Defeat

Solskjaer is keen to slim down his bloated squad before the transfer window shuts on Monday.

Jesse Lingard is on the verge of moving to West Ham on loan but Solskjaer said he hoped the attacking midfielder would return to Old Trafford “revitalised”.

The 28-year-old has found playing time limited this season, making just three appearances in all competitions for United.

File photo: Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (1st-R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on March 8, 2020.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

“It’s likely that Jesse’s loan deal with West Ham is going through,” said Solskjaer. “We want Jesse to come back here revitalised and having shown at West Ham how good a player he is.”

Argentina defender Marcos Rojo looks likely to leave the club, with a move to Boca Juniors edging closer.

AFP

One Year Of Fernandes Transforms Man United From Title Pretenders To Contenders

File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 17, 2020. Alex Pantling / POOL / AF

 

 

Manchester United may have surrendered top spot in the Premier League with a shock home defeat to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United, but the fact the Red Devils are even involved in a title race is testament to Bruno Fernandes’s first 12 months at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men travel to Arsenal on Saturday a year to the day since the Portuguese midfielder joined a side languishing 30 points off the top in fifth place.

Solskjaer’s days in charge looked numbered after a toxic response from the home support to a 2-0 defeat to Burnley in United’s final league game before Fernandes’s arrival.

In 52 appearances, the 26-year-old has scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists, earning comparisons to Eric Cantona’s talismanic turnaround in United’s fortunes.

solskjaer-man-united
File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C), FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca and Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes react at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020.
WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL

 

Over the past year, no team has taken more Premier League points than United.

However, Fernandes’s impact goes beyond the stats.

For a side badly in need of a leader, the former Sporting Lisbon captain has come to the fore, demanding that others match his standards.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Title Hopes Hit By Sheffield United Defeat

“I don’t do anything like saying ‘I want to be a leader or I want to do things in a different way to someone’, it’s the natural way I have. It’s something that’s in my game,” said Fernandes.

“For me the point is helping everyone with my voice when I can and also with my energy and everything I do in the game to help the team.”

That has led to on-pitch rebukes of his teammates and frustration at Solskjaer whenever he is substituted or rested.

But it is also a commitment to excellence has often been missing from United in the eight years since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired.

“He’s never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he’s playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday,” said Solskjaer after Fernandes came off the bench to score the winner with a stunning free-kick against Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend.

“When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free-kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.”

The most successful club in English football history when it comes to league titles have not even competed for one since Ferguson’s departure.

“My mentality, my way to be in my life and football is about winning,” said Fernandes this week.

“I don’t conform with losing games is normal stuff. For me, losing is not normal so my mentality comes from that.”

 

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP
File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020.
Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP

 

United had not suffered defeat in the league for 13 games stretching back to November until they were blunted by the Blades in midweek.

Manchester City have moved into the pole position at the top of the table with an ominous run for the other challengers of 11 consecutive wins in all competitions.

If United are to remain in the race, a return to winning ways is needed at the Emirates on Saturday, where they have lost on their two previous visits under Solskjaer.

Those defeats came prior to Fernandes’s arrival. In the past year, United have undoubtedly progressed, but without trophies to show for it.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca, next to Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

 

Solskjaer’s men have lost four cup semi-finals in the past two seasons and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages in December.

“I come to the club because I knew I will come to a club who wants to win everything,” Fernandes said on the attraction United still holds for top players.

A four-year drought without any silverware is too long for a club of United’s size, but it is thanks to Fernandes they are at least now contenders.

AFP

Manchester United Look To Extend Lead Over Chasing Premier League Pack

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 6, 2021.
PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged his Manchester United players to show the relentlessness of champions when they welcome bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

United will be confident of extending a 13-game unbeaten league run in the league that has taken them to the top of the table against the Blades, who have won only once in the top flight this season.

However, Solskjaer’s men could find themselves knocked down to second by the time they kick-off as Manchester City can go top if they beat second-bottom West Brom on Tuesday.

United’s fine form continued by knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup on Sunday, winning a thrilling tie 3-2.

But Solskjaer is wary of his side slipping back into bad habits as they have done previously after good runs in his tenure.

“Now I want to see the reaction, how we can now mentally go again, against Sheffield United. That’s the challenge now,” said Solskjaer.

“We have beaten Liverpool, and everyone is elated, very happy and they should be, but tomorrow morning I want to see players thinking about Wednesday night.”

 

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 24, 2021. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

United could be without Marcus Rashford, who limped off with a knee injury late on against Liverpool.

But Solskjaer will be able to welcome back Bruno Fernandes to the starting line-up after he came off the bench to score the winner against the English champions at the weekend with a stunning free-kick.

City face ‘genius’ Allardyce

City sit just two points behind United with a game in hand to come after a 10-game winning run that has made Pep Guardiola’s men favourites for the title after a slow start to the season.

Guardiola, though, will have to cope without Kevin De Bruyne for at least the next month due to a hamstring injury.

On paper, lowly West Brom should pose little threat to City, but they were the last team to take points off Guardiola’s men.

A 1-1 draw at the Etihad in December still was not enough to save Slaven Bilic’s job as Baggies boss as he was sacked the next day and replaced by Sam Allardyce.

The former England manager has managed just one win in seven games, but Guardiola warned of Allardyce’s ability to spring surprise results.

“Sam Allardyce is a genius to take these teams when everyone believes it’s over and get results,” said Guardiola on Monday.

“If it happens once, twice or three times, OK you can say it’s lucky, but that is not the case because he’s done it I don’t know how many times.”

Top-four battles

A draw with West Brom also sparked the collapse of Liverpool’s title defence as Jurgen Klopp’s men have failed to win in five league games to slip to fourth, six points off the top.

When the Reds hosted Tottenham just over a month ago it was a top-of-the-table clash. Now they meet again locked in a battle just to try and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Spurs are a point behind Liverpool, but have a game in hand and have recovered from their own dip in form to take seven points from the last possible nine.

Leicester sit between the Manchester giants and Liverpool as they aim to recreate their title-winning heroics of 2015/16.

The Foxes travel to another top-four contender Everton, who were the last team to beat Brendan Rodgers’ men eight games ago.

Leicester will be without talisman Jamie Vardy for a few weeks after a hernia operation, but Rodgers believes his side can cope without the 34-year-old.

“We have scored 53 goals over the course of the season so far. Jamie has 13 and 40 of our goals have come from other people,” said Rodgers.

Despite speculation that Rodgers could be in the frame, Chelsea did not try to poach the Leicester boss as their new manager after sacking Frank Lampard on Monday.

Former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is instead expected to be named Lampard’s successor and could even be in place in time for the visit of Wolves on Wednesday.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Tuesday

Newcastle v Leeds, Crystal Palace v West Ham (both 1800), West Brom v Manchester City, Southampton v Arsenal (both 2015)

Wednesday

Chelsea v Wolves, Burnley v Aston Villa (both 1800),Brighton v Fulham (1930), Everton v Leicester, Manchester United v Sheffield United (both 2015)

Thursday

Tottenham v Liverpool (2000)

Maguire Hails Man Utd’s Progress But Says There Is Room To Improve

File photo: Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire gestures at the end of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 11, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire hailed the huge progress the Red Devils have made in his 18 months at the club but said much more improvement was needed to deliver major trophies.

United extended their unbeaten league run to 12 matches and their away record to 16 without defeat with a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday to remain top of the Premier League.

A mammoth 33 points divided the sides last season as Liverpool romped to their first league title in 30 years.

However, a much tighter fight for the title is in store this season, with just five points separating the top six.

“You can see how much we have improved since I’ve been here,” said Maguire, who joined for a world-record fee for a defender from Leicester in August 2019.

“As a team we are on the up but there is loads of improvement we need to make, and make a lot more progress to get to where we want to be.

“We wanted to win the game but we keep the momentum going of not losing, especially away from home.”

United’s last domestic defeat away from home came at Anfield a year ago, when they were comfortably beaten 2-0.

 

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (2R) hugs Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (3L) after the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 17, 2021. The math ended 0-0. PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his side were not at their best on Sunday, but they showed a maturity to keep Liverpool at bay and could have won the game late on, with Alisson Becker denying Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

“Last time we played here we didn’t have any confidence or momentum,” said Maguire. “The first half felt like we didn’t play well, we felt we could have been brave and hurt them a bit more.

“We didn’t play with belief and courage and I felt the second half was much more like ourselves.

“We are improving but we still need to do better with and without the ball.”

READ ALSO: Messi Sees Red As Bilbao Stun Barca To Win Spanish Super Cup

Solskjaer feels the next step for his side is to start taking the game to their main rivals.

Despite their position at the top United have failed to win against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, City and Tottenham this season.

“I think it showed throughout the game that the belief grew,” the manager said. “Next time we play them here, or after this experience, we need to impose ourselves on the game.

“Not take a few more risks but we can do better and that is a good feeling to have that I know we can do better — keep trying to do the right things even though you might make the odd mistake.”

AFP

Solskjaer Happy To Have Fans Back, Even If Man Utd Support Shut Out


Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is delighted that limited numbers of fans will soon be back in Premier League stadiums, even if United supporters are not among them.

Fans have been shut out of top-level matches in England since March but a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions will allow them back into grounds in some parts of England from next week.

London and Liverpool are among the areas to have been placed into the Tier-2 category based on infection rates, meaning up to 2,000 fans will be able to attend matches.

But clubs based in Tier-3 areas, such as Manchester and Birmingham, are still not allowed to open their gates.

United’s visit to West Ham on December 5 will be the first Premier League game that fans can attend for eight months.

“I’m very pleased that we’re making progress and we can let the fans in gradually,” Solskjaer said on Friday.

“Of course we can’t wait to see our own fans at Old Trafford and we know how long they’ve been waiting to be there to watch the games live.

“This is a step in the right direction and even though they are fans for the other team, they are still creating an atmosphere in the game.”

United travel to high-flying Southampton on Sunday hoping to build on a run of three consecutive wins that have eased the pressure on Solskjaer.

But fifth-placed Saints are unbeaten in seven league games and sit four points ahead of United in the table.

“If you look over the last 13 or 14 games they’re one of the top teams so they’ve made great improvements,” said Solskjaer.

“We know how difficult it is. We drew twice against them last season so hopefully, we can make improvements.”

Midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay look set to miss out through injury, but Marcus Rashford, Victor Lindelof, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have recovered from knocks and are expected to start.

-AFP

Solskjaer Laments ‘Unforgivable’ Defending As Basaksehir Shock Man Utd

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 1, 2020. Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 1, 2020. Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blasted “unforgivable” defending from his hapless side as they slumped to an embarrassing 2-1 Champions League defeat against Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.

United, floundering in the lower reaches of the Premier League, started the game as firm favourites after an impressive win against Paris Saint-Germain and a 5-0 humbling of RB Leipzig.

But defeat in Turkey — a first-ever Champions League group-stage win for Basaksehir — heaps the pressure on the Norwegian boss, whose side looked short of inspiration and basic defensive nous in Istanbul.

The three-time European champions were badly exposed on the break as former Chelsea forward Demba Ba and Edin Visca gave the home team a two-goal cushion.

United gave themselves hope when they reduced the deficit shortly before half-time through an Anthony Martial header.

But despite multiple second-half changes and an array of attacking talent, Solskjaer’s lacklustre team could not find a way past the organised Basaksehir defence.

The result ended Manchester United’s longest away winning run in all competitions in their history — 10 straight victories — and was their first away defeat in 19 matches since losing in January at Liverpool in the Premier League.

Solskjaer said the performance against the hard-working Turkish side was not good enough.

“They scored two goals like you do in Europe when you do not defend well enough,” he told BT Sport.

“The first one is that we play a short corner and forget about the man up top. That is unforgivable. The second one as well, we are not very well organised to counter the press.”

“You don’t turn up and get three points in the Champions League,” he added. “They are a team well organised and we were not good enough. That is it.”

Defensive chaos

United started the game in the comfort zone, with no sign of the defensive chaos to come in front of a small but vocal crowd.

Luke Shaw fizzed a ball past the far post with his left foot but United, with Marcus Rashford and Martial up front, lacked penetration.

The home side were ahead in the 12th minute after inexplicably poor awareness and organisation allowed unmarshalled ex-Chelsea forward Ba to collect a long ball and race from the halfway line to score, trailed helplessly by Nemanja Matic.

Axel Tuanzebe, who impressed in Paris, had a heart-stopping moment after he pulled Ba back but escaped with a yellow card.

Basaksehir remained threatening on the break, with United worryingly open at the back, and the visitors were caught napping again five minutes before half time.

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire (L) fights for the ball with Istanbul Basaksehir's Turkish midfielder Mehmet Topal during the UEFA Champions League football match group H, between Istanbul Basaksehir FK and Manchester United, on November 4, 2020, at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim stadium in Istanbul. OZAN KOSE / AFP
Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (L) fights for the ball with Istanbul Basaksehir’s Turkish midfielder Mehmet Topal during the UEFA Champions League football match group H, between Istanbul Basaksehir FK and Manchester United, on November 4, 2020, at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim stadium in Istanbul. OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Deniz Turuc robbed Juan Mata of possession down the left and raced forward, sending over a cross that Ba stepped over and Visca smashed past Dean Henderson, making his Champions League debut in place of David de Gea.

United crucially reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute when Martial steered a Shaw cross home with his head.

Solskjaer hooked off Tuanzebe at the interval, with Scott McTominay coming on and Matic dropping back to play at centre-back alongside Harry Maguire.

United once more enjoyed territorial advantage at the start of the second half and Bruno Fernandes had a free-kick pushed away.

Solskjaer threw on Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba in place of Mata and Donny van de Beek to add impetus to the attack but ponderous United struggled to create clear chances.

Mason Greenwood came on for Rashford as United continued to search for a way through.

They went agonisingly close to an equaliser in stoppage time when Alexandru Epureanu hacked off the line but they could not rescue a point in the Group H tie.

United appeared to have turned the corner after their 6-1 mauling by Tottenham last month but they have now suffered consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Basaksehir.

“They (two losses) have set us back a lot,” said Solskjaer, whose team travel to Everton on Saturday. “You get a reality check every time you play a game of football.”

 

AFP

Solskjaer Backs Southgate Over Axing Of Greenwood


DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Greenwood and Manchester City’s Phil Foden were omitted from Southgate’s squad on Thursday after being sent home from Iceland last month for a breach of coronavirus rules.

Ignoring the pandemic protocols, Greenwood, 19, and Foden, 20, invited local women back to the England team hotel.

“Mason is one of the top strikers of the future for England and for sure he is going to play many games for England,” Solskjaer told reporters on Friday.

“This now obviously has been a learning curve for him.

“Mason has to reflect on where he’s at and what he needs to do, how to get to where he wants to get to.”

Amid criticism from frustrated fans, United continue to be linked with a number of players in the final few days of the transfer window, most prominently Borussia Dortmund’s England international forward Jadon Sancho.

But Solskjaer refused to be drawn on why the club have so far failed to land more of their major targets, with Donny van de Beek the only arrival so far.

“I’m not going to go into the transfer window now because of course my focus is on Sunday’s game (against Tottenham) but the club’s always working hard to have the strongest possible squad,” he said.

“If something happens in or out you’ll get to know.

“We’ve got players here that we believe in. The transfer window is still open for a little while and the club has been working. They know my view and we’re here to strengthen in the long term.”

Solskjaer and Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, the Norwegian’s immediate predecessor at Old Trafford, have traded barbs in the run-up to this weekend’ Premier League clash in Manchester.

Mourinho pointed to the number of penalties United have been awarded and Solskjaer made a dig about Spurs’ bye in the League Cup because of a spate of coronavirus cases at their opponents, League Two club Leyton Orient.

“We are in strange times at the moment and sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of fun,” said Solskjaer. “It’s just a couple of innocent comments.

“For me, Jose is a very charismatic coach. You in the media enjoy talking to him and I’ve enjoyed watching him. He’s a winner.

“I’m not one of those that really goes into all the mind games. I’ve got ultimate respect for him as a coach and of course the results and everything he has given football.”

-AFP

Solskjaer Asked England Not To Pick Greenwood Before COVID-19 Breach

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaves after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. The game finished 2-2.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed he asked England not to pick Mason Greenwood before the Manchester United forward was withdrawn from the squad after breaching coronavirus protocols.

Greenwood and Manchester City’s Phil Foden were forced to fly home from Iceland earlier this month after they were caught mixing with local women in the England hotel.

The pair had just made their England debuts in the Nations League victory over Iceland when video footage emerged of their breach of the bio-secure bubble which had been set up to avoid contact with the virus.

England boss Gareth Southgate admitted he couldn’t understand their behaviour and axed them from the subsequent match in Denmark.

But United manager Solskjaer defended Greenwood and said he warned England that the 18-year-old needed a rest before the start of the new season.

“Yeah, of course I speak to Mason and I’ve spoken to Mason,” Solskjaer said. “Of course, what we speak about and discuss will be between the two of us.

“The kid had a fantastic season. He’s just come through. You come to the end of the season and we’ve had less than two weeks off and he’s called up to the national team.

“I have to be honest enough to say I tried my best to give him a rest over the summer. That the club asked specifically and pointed out that he should have had a rest.

“He needs it mentally and physically after that season he had. First thing that happens is: one – he’s called up, and two – he’s right there in the press.

“We’ve done whatever we can to protect him and I will keep on helping him. I know that when he comes back into the daily routine of the club and what we do to him, he’ll be fine.”

Greenwood has been training with United after passing coronavirus tests and Solskjaer confirmed the striker is in contention to feature in United’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

“Yeah, he’s part of the group. With the testing and Covid protocols, he trained by himself for a little while. We had some tests done and as soon as possible he was with us. He’s a big part of this group,” Solskjaer said.

“This is where he feels at home. He’s not comfortable, we challenge him, we’ve got people looking after him.

“We have to understand he’s an 18-year-old kid who needs managing.”

– ‘Strong character’ –
Earlier in the close-season, United captain Harry Maguire was handed a suspended 21-month sentence by a Greek court after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and attempted bribery during an incident on the island of Mykonos.

Maguire denied the offences and has launched an appeal which nullifies the conviction, but the defender still lost his place in the England squad for the Iceland and Denmark matches.

Confident Maguire can focus on football despite the off-field distraction, Solskjaer said: “The process will keep on going. Knowing Harry, he’s a very strong character so hopefully he can put that apart.

“Naturally, as a human being it will be in the back of his mind what’s happened this summer, and apart from that you’ve just got to see how it develops.”

United have spent most of the close-season in an unsuccessful attempt to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho.

The deal is still not completely dead according to reports, but Solskjaer would only confirm that United are still looking to strengthen after signing just Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek so far.

“You know I can’t say anything about other clubs’ players out of respect to them. I can’t speculate. But we understand that to get even further; one – we need to develop what we have, two – we’re also looking to strengthen the team, of course we are,” Solskjaer said.

“I’ve been in dialogue with the club. Of course, we’re always discussing and hopefully, let’s see if we can bring anyone in.”

 

 

 

Maguire To Remain Man Utd Captain Despite Court Case – Solskjaer

A photo combination of Manchester United coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and captain, Harry Maguire.

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Harry Maguire will remain Manchester United’s captain this season despite his involvement in a Greek court case.

Maguire was given a suspended 21-month sentence last month after the England defender was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery during an incident in Mykonos.

The 27-year-old has denied the offences and has launched an appeal which nullifies the verdict and means he has no criminal record ahead of a full retrial.

Following the original court verdict, Maguire was withdrawn from England’s squad for their recent Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.

However, England manager Gareth Southgate has said would consider bringing Maguire back into the squad for the next internationals.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Captain Maguire Gets Suspended Prison Sentence For Greek Assault

Now United boss Solskjaer has made it clear he will not punish his centre-back by stripping him of the captaincy.

“He’s handled it really well and, of course, I’ll be here to support him,” Solskjaer told United’s website on Saturday.

“He is going to be our captain. We’ll just leave Harry and his people and the process to run.”

Maguire was a key figure in his first season with United following his £80 million ($102 million) move from Leicester, which made him the world’s most expensive defender.

Solskjaer said Maguire had coped well with the incident in Greece, which was allegedly sparked when the player and his family and friends were taunted and attacked at a nightclub.

“Of course, Harry, as you said, had a difficult summer. He didn’t have a long break,” Solskjaer said.

“His break was different to others as we gave him a few more days and, after, he’s come back and looked fine.

“For me, he is a top, an absolute top human being and has always been a positive guy with the right values. So I really hope we can see Harry performing at his best.”

United start their Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace on September 19 after being given an extra week of rest following their involvement in the Europa League in August.

 

 

AFP

Solskjaer Urges Man Utd To Seize ‘Fantastic Opportunity’ In Champions League Push

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on July 22, 2020. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP) 

 

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer urged his Manchester United stars to seize a “fantastic opportunity” to qualify for the Champions League after Mason Greenwood rescued a 1-1 draw against West Ham on Wednesday.

Solskjaer’s side fell behind to Michail Antonio’s penalty in the first half at Old Trafford.

But teenage forward Greenwood struck after the interval to lift United into third place in the Premier League.

They are ahead of fourth placed Chelsea on goal difference after the Blues lost 5-3 at champions Liverpool.

United will finish in the top four if they draw or win in their decisive showdown with fifth placed Leicester on Sunday.

United are one point ahead of Leicester going into their last game of the season at the King Power Stadium.

“When we started after the lockdown, we had to go for it. We had to go for goal difference, we had to go for points,” Solskjaer said.

“The effort has been fantastic and the results have been fantastic.

“Going into half-time we knew that wasn’t the result we wanted. But you can’t expect to turn teams over like we needed to have a different scenario for Sunday.

“We’ve given ourselves a fantastic opportunity and a great starting point for Sunday.”

Solskjaer’s team were well below their best against West Ham, but they are now unbeaten in 13 league matches and will complete an impressive surge into the Champions League if they emerge unscathed at Leicester.

They can also qualify for Europe’s elite club competition if they win the Europa League in August.

Solskjaer will have been relieved there were no costly mistakes from David De Gea after the United keeper retained his place.

The Spaniard made two embarrassing errors that led to goals in United’s 3-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat against Chelsea on Sunday.

West Ham’s point ensured they are mathematically certain to avoid relegation.

After their sluggish loss at Wembley ended a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions, Solskjaer’s men made a more enterprising start this time and West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski was tested twice inside the first four minutes.

Mature Greenwood
Anthony Martial’s stinging strike from just inside the penalty area forced an excellent save from Fabianski, who then plunged to his right to keep out Greenwood’s effort.

Rashford tried his luck from 30 yards, but the forward’s powerful drive was too close to Fabianski, while Greenwood’s close-range shot was blocked by Ogbonna.

De Gea had been a spectator for the first 40 minutes and when he was finally called into action, Antonio’s header lacked the power to trouble him.

But De Gea still had to pick the ball out of the net moments before half-time after Paul Pogba handed West Ham a penalty.

Declan Rice’s free-kick was smashed straight at Pogba, who instinctively stuck up his arms to protect his face.

Despite Pogba dropping to the turf as though he had been hit in the head, VAR confirmed the France midfielder’s handball.

Antonio took the spot-kick, sending De Gea the wrong way for his sixth goal in his last three games.

United had let the first half drift out of their control, but Greenwood dragged them level with another demonstration of his remarkable maturity in the 51st minute.

Dropping deep to exchange passes with Martial, the 18-year-old kept his composure to drill a clinical finish past Fabianski from 12 yards.

No teenager has ever scored more goals in a single season in all competitions for United than Greenwood, whose 17th of the season moved him level with George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney.

“He’s bailed us out a few times and he’s done it again,” Solskjaer said.

“He’s been absolutely top class ever since we gave him an opportunity.

“He trusts himself that his talent, his qualities, attributes, they actually work at the highest level.”

 

 

-AFP