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Solskjaer rejects Neville jibe; Rashford begins recovery

Posted by on January 21st, 2020

 
Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Marcus Rashford during their FA Cup match. ReutersManager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hit back on former team-mate Gary Neville by asserting Mancheter United are on the right track despite their most recent lost to Liverpool.

Neville, during a TV show, claimed United to be in a mess after their loss against Liverpool, which the Manchester side 30 points adrift of the leaders.

The former united skipper blamed chief executive Ed Woodward for the mess the club is in because of his  But with the United in fifth and pushing for top-four finish for the automatic Champions League qualification and also  competing in the three cups, Solskjaer believes it is too early to start blame games.

“We’ve just lost to Liverpool, who you all say are fantastic and we have been in the game until the last kick of the ball,” he said at his press conference on the eve of United’s Premier League game with Burnley on Wednesday.

“For me, that is strides forward. The signs are there that we’re on the right track, definitely. For me, now is not the time to talk about recruitment.

“We are always looking to improve the squad, so now is not the time to start that discussion, Gary.”

Fighting for fourth place — the final Champions League spot — is not what is expected of a club of United’s stature, but the manager remains confident they are doing things to rectify that.

“We know we’re not where we want to be and should be, historically,” he admitted.

“It’s down to us to work better and from my experience in the 12, 13 months I’ve been here, the players that I’ve brought in have been good, so I have no complaints whatsoever.”

On the pitch, United will give Marcus Rashford all the time he needs to recover from a double stress fracture to his back.

Rashford picked up the injury in the 1-0 win over Wolves in the FA Cup replay last Wednesday, and will miss at least three months.

The England striker, who has scored 19 times for United this season, had been monitoring his back following the away match at Burnley on December 28, but Solskjaer says it was not a previous injury.

“Marcus will be out for a while, but he will get the time he needs to recover,” he said.

“He’s not had that injury before. He complained a little bit after the last time we played Burnley. We managed him as well as we could then.

Solskjaer must now decide whether to make a late move in the transfer window for a striker to cover for Rashford’s absence. If he cannot bring anyone in, the Norwegian will look to 18-year-old Mason Greenwood and veteran midfielder Juan Mata — who scored the goal that knocked Wolves out of the FA Cup — to try and plug the gap.

“Mason will get more chances now and Juan will have to step up again,” he said.

“We know we’re stretched with the injuries we’ve had but we’ll cope with that.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association (FA) over misconduct of their players in the 2-0 defeat by runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

United’s players surrounded referee Craig Pawson midway through the first-half on Sunday after Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk challenged goalkeeper David de Gea.

Roberto Firmino subsequently scored, but his goal was ruled out following a VAR review of Van Dijk’s clash with the Spanish goalkeeper. De Gea dropped the ball which the defence failed to clear allowing Firmino to take advantage and score.

“Manchester United FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20(a),” read the FA statement.

“It is alleged that the club failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 26th minute of the Premier League fixture against Liverpool FC on Sunday (19/01/20).”

A furious De Gea led United protests, rushing over to Pawson to vent his frustration. The Spaniard, who was booked for his actions, was joined by a number of his team-mates in surrounding Pawson.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not appear best pleased that the charge had been brought.

Van Dijk had already opened the scoring for Liverpool prior to the incident and Mohamed Salah added a second in time added on to extend Liverpool’s lead over Manchester City to 16 points — United trail by 30 points. United have until Thursday to respond to the charge.


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