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Sport The five big problems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must fix NOW

14:25  22 may  2021
14:25  22 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Solskjaer doesn't care what Liverpool think about his weakened team

  Solskjaer doesn't care what Liverpool think about his weakened team Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to field a weakened team against Leicester, making 10 changes as the Foxes moved nine points ahead of Liverpool in the battle for a Champions League place. © Provided by Daily Mail ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Victory over Klopp's side on Thursday would almost certainly kill off Liverpool's Champions League hopes but Solskjaer maintains he had no choice but to rotate players for four games in eight days. The Norwegian insisted earlier on Wednesday that he isn't worried about the reaction from Klopp and the Liverpool fans but found an unlikely ally in the German.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Marcus Rashford looking at the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Manchester United had hoped to produce a series of strong performances in their Premier League run-in to build momentum heading into their Europa League final with Villarreal.

However, since qualifying for the final things have turned sour for the Red Devils as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to register a win in their last three Premier League games.

The hectic schedule for the 2020/2021 season hasn't helped as United have officially played more matches in all competitions than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues - 59.

Nevertheless, United have some underlying issues that need to be solved ahead of the showpiece in Gdansk on 26 May.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Man Utd fans played role in recent defeats

  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Man Utd fans played role in recent defeats United were handed a punishing schedule of four games in eight days after the fixture against Liverpool was postponed due to violent demonstrations against the club's American owners.United were handed a punishing schedule of four games in eight days after the fixture against Liverpool was postponed due to violent demonstrations against the club’s American owners.

From their lack of concentration in crucial stages of the games to their defensive instability without Harry Maguire, Sportsmail have rounded up the growing concerns for Manchester United ahead of their Europa League final.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Growing injury concerns

Solskjaer has been vocal on his thoughts surrounding Manchester United's hectic schedule and it seems reasonable given he is now sweating over the fitness of several first-team players ahead of their Europa League final.

United sealed their fate as runners-up in the Premier League after their draw at home to Fulham and Leicester's defeat at Chelsea, but unfortunately for Solskjaer several of his players sustained injuries during the game.

Man Utd boss Solskjaer can't rule out striker signing

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a rugby player on a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Luke Shaw sitting in a chair: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Scott McTominay and Fred joined Solskjaer's ever-growing injury list after picking up niggles during United's clash on Tuesday night. However, the Norwegian manager is now confident that both midfielders will return to fitness in time.

Speaking after the game he said: 'Unfortunately Scott had to come off and Fred doesn't look great while he's walking now. But we've got eight days so hopefully everyone will be available that was available today.'

Most worryingly, Solskjaer is almost certain to be without captain Harry Maguire after he suffered an ankle injury during their recent victory over Aston Villa.

a man holding a football ball: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a man with a football ball: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

The manager had been hopeful that Maguire would return in time, having said the player was feeling 'positive' about the situation. However, Solskjaer later u-turned and revealed that thing weren't looking good.

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  Manchester United 'in touch with Ronaldo' but 'cannot afford Haaland' The club face a crucial summer transfer window after another Premier League season finishing well behind champions and rivals Manchester City, with several high-profile players earmarked.The club face a crucial summer transfer window after another Premier League season finishing well behind champions and rivals Manchester City, with several high-profile players earmarked for a costly rebuild.

'He's walking but it's a long way from walking to running,' said the United boss on Friday. 'To be honest I don't think we'll see him in Gdansk, no, but I'm going to give him until Tuesday night and the last training session to be out there. Steadily but surely he's improving – but ligaments take time to heal.'

Meanwhile, Anthony Martial and Daniel James are both still question marks when it comes to the Europa League final.

Martial has been missing since the international break after suffering a knee injury with France in Kazakhstan, while James last played in April's goalless draw with Leeds at Elland Road.

Anthony Martial wearing an orange shirt: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Lost without Maguire

With a boot on his foot and crutches in his hand, Maguire has been forced to watch United go about their business from the stands after sustaining an ankle injury against Aston Villa last week.

His absence from the squad has been sorely felt across the club as United have failed to register a win since his departure and have instead conceded seven goals.

Solskjaer said on Friday: 'He's a very important person in the dressing-room and a leader.

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  Solskjaer aims subtle dig in direction of the Premier League While Manchester United played - and beat - Wolves on Sunday on the final day, Villarreal's LaLiga finale against Real Madrid was moved to Saturday, giving the Spaniards a day extra to prepare.While Manchester United played - and beat - Wolves on Sunday on the final day of the Premier League season, Villarreal's LaLiga finale against Real Madrid was moved to Saturday, giving the Spaniards a day extra to prepare for the European showpiece in Gdansk.

'Before fans came back in you heard him from the stands. He wants the team to do well, he's organising from the stands. It's easy because it's been so quiet. He'll make sure everyone's ready for the final.'

It still remains unclear as to whether Maguire will be available for the Europa League final due to take place a week today, as Solskjaer admitted things 'do not look good' for the United captain.

( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Victor Lindelöf wearing a uniform: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

The news comes as a blow to the Red Devils as they are defensively weak without their star defender, having recently recorded a 1-1 draw with newly relegated Fulham.

Solskjaer has mostly started Maguire and Victor Lindelof together at the back this season. However, the Swedish international has failed to hold the fort since his defensive partner's injury.


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Lindelof's flaws were exposed during Manchester United's recent Premier League fixtures with both Liverpool and Fulham.

The Liverpool game presented the opportunity for the 26-year-old to cement himself as the next best defender in the squad but instead showed his inability to keep up when faced with a fast-paced, attacking side.

His performance against Fulham was equally as underwhelming as 18-year-old Fabio Carvalho overcame the Swedish defender with ease to go one-on-one with David de Gea.

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  Hughes: Important Ole wins trophies to underline progress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen progress at Manchester United this season but the manager must underline that by winning trophies, according to Mark Hughes.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen progress at Manchester United this season by closing the gap on their nearest rivals but the club must underline improvements by winning trophies, according to former forward Mark Hughes.

With 10,000 fans having returned to the stadium, the collective groan following his defensive error was telling.

a football player on a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Eric Bailly is another player who has struggled to prove his worth this season - having produced weak performances against Roma, Leicester and Liverpool.

He received particular criticism for his performance against Liverpool - with many people saying he looked 'lost' during the 4-2 loss.

During United's clash with Jurgen Klopp's side, Bailly almost gave away a penalty. However, thankfully for the 27-year-old, Anthony Taylor reversed his initial decision after consulting the VAR pitch-side monitor.

He went on to cause more problems for United and was ultimately subbed off for Nemanja Matic after picking up a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Diogo Jota.

Midfield monstrosity

Solskjaer's decisions when it comes to Manchester United's midfield have always been at the forefront of conversation and as of late it has not been positive.

The combination of Fred and Scott McTominay has not been working for the Red Devils, with both players giving below-par performances in United's recent games.

Fred has been one of United's most frequently criticised players this season but given the statistics associated with his play it is clear to see why.

During United's clash with Fulham, Fred made zero interceptions and was dispossessed three times in the midfield - the most out of any of his team-mates.

a man throwing a ball: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a man playing a game of football: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

The Brazilian was also blamed for his role in Liverpool's third goal on Thursday after he gave away possession with a poorly timed pass.

Marcus Rashford urges Man United to develop a winning mentality

  Marcus Rashford urges Man United to develop a winning mentality United delivered a flat display in Gdansk and could only draw 1-1 - with Edinson Cavani cancelling out Gerard Moreno's opener - as the LaLiga side came out on top in a penalty shooutout.The striker pulled no punches in his pre-match interview, in which he stressed that 'close was not good enough' as United failed to win their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United legend Roy Keane even went as far to say the club will not win any big trophies with him in the squad.

McTominay is another player who has struggled to prove his worth in the build-up to the Europa League final despite playing regularly for United this season.

Having made 27 starts in all competitions this term, the Scotland international faces stern competition at the heart of United's midfield after being criticised for sloppy mistakes.

Superstars Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba have often carried the burden for United's attacking forays through the midfield this campaign, with McTominay being singled out for careless errors.

However, the likes of Rio Ferdinand believes McTominay could have a positive influence on the team if he was partnered with another player over Fred.

a football player on a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Lack of killer instinct in the vital moment

Manchester United have had a reasonably successful season so far, but their failure to capitalise on fixtures against Fulham and Leeds has raised question marks over how they will fare against Villarreal.

Additionally, United have now lost three of their last four games and lost their killer instinct ahead of their Europa League final.

United's defeat in Rome 'didn't matter' because the Red Devils made it through to the Europa League final regardless of the result, but their disappointing performance has zapped their momentum.

a group of men playing a game of football: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

United have taken their foot off the gas, missing several opportunities to claim points against Premier League opponents.

United missed a host of second-half chances against Fulham and were held to a draw after Joe Bryan's header.

Rashford, Fernandes and James all missed very presentable opportunities against Leeds as United drew the game 0-0.

United must rediscover their fizz and intensity to stand a chance of picking up Europa League silverware on May 26.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'will be offered new Manchester United deal'

  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'will be offered new Manchester United deal' Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be given a new contract and receive substantial backing in the transfer market this summer. The United hierarchy trusts him.Despite finishing the season without a trophy and rounding off the campaign with an abject defeat by Villarreal in the Europa League final, the club are to give Solskjaer a new deal.

Lack of concentration in crucial stages

Solskjaer's have conceded an alarming number of goals from concentration lapses on defensive set-pieces, and this could be their downfall.

United allowed Leicester to score a late winner when Rashford, a substitute, failed to track Caglar Soyuncu on a corner - and the goal saw the game end 2-1 in favour of Brendan Rodgers' side.

a group of football players on a field: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

United also gave up their 1-0 advantage over Liverpool and headed into the half-time break 2-1 down.

Liverpool's opening goal came from a series of poor clearances. The first being Dean Henderson's punch which landed in the path of Mohamed Salah.

The forward struck the ball at goal, only for it to hit Paul Pogba – who was lying on the ground.

Having failed to get up on his feet in time, Nat Phillips carried the ball through the box and had an attempt on goal that was flicked in by Diogo Jota.

a group of men playing a game of football: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a person holding a football ball: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Liverpool's second goal came from another lapse in concentration for United as Roberto Firmino ran off Paul Pogba to head in Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick.

As a result, United have conceded 14 league goals from set-pieces - not including penalties. Only Leeds United have let in more this season - having conceded a total of 15.

Additionally, 33 per cent of the goals scored against United in the competition have been from set-pieces - the highest ratio in the division.

Read more

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'will be offered new Manchester United deal' .
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be given a new contract and receive substantial backing in the transfer market this summer. The United hierarchy trusts him.Despite finishing the season without a trophy and rounding off the campaign with an abject defeat by Villarreal in the Europa League final, the club are to give Solskjaer a new deal.

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