EPL

Man Utd star Rashford can emulate Ronaldo, says Solskjaer

By Sports Desk December 09, 2019

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Marcus Rashford can reach the level of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rashford continued his excellent form to start the season with another goal in United's stunning 2-1 derby win at Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.

The 22-year-old United and England star has scored 13 goals this term – 10 of those coming in the Premier League.

And Solskjaer backed Rashford to emulate five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who claimed three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.

"It's very easy to compare the two of them, yeah," said United boss Solskjaer. "Both with skills, body shape, attitude, attributes - everything.

"The boy [Rashford] has every chance in the world to become a top, top player. Let's hope he continues like this.

"I don't want to talk about the amount of goals. As long as he keeps being positive and being direct and thinking about getting in front of the goal and getting chances, he'll score goals."

United – up to fifth in the Premier League standings following wins over City and Tottenham – welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Not before United face AZ in their sixth and final Group L Europa League fixture on Thursday.

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  • Liverpool boss Klopp hails 'one of the best' wins against Man Utd Liverpool boss Klopp hails 'one of the best' wins against Man Utd

    Jurgen Klopp applauded Liverpool for securing a "dominant" 2-0 win in what he viewed as one of their most captivating matches against Manchester United.

    Virgil van Dijk's 14th-minute header and Mohamed Salah's stoppage-time sealer saw off the Red Devils at Anfield on Sunday and sent Liverpool 16 points clear atop the Premier League.

    Roberto Firmino had a goal disallowed following a VAR review midway through the first half but the hosts made the result safe when Salah chased down Alisson's long ball, held off Daniel James and completed a scintillating counter-attack.

    "It was a really good game, one of the best derbies we have played for sure," Klopp said.

    "Very dominant in most periods of the game. I didn't like too much in the first half, the last five or seven minutes. Nothing happened really, just we weren't as dominant as before.

    "And obviously the last 10-15, maybe, of the game. Okay, [it was] an exception."

    "The start to the second half was absolutely brutal," Klopp continued. "We jumped in and had three, four chances at least. Didn't score and then it's how it always is... the opponent has the chance to come back.

    "We had to defend and the organisation was okay. We defended with a lot of passion, a big heart and stuff like this. Carried as well by the atmosphere, which was great.

    "And then the last situation of the game - Alisson Becker, what an assist. Mo Salah, what a goal. There was a sprint duel of two really quick boys and Mo used his massive experience. A big relief in that moment."

    Liverpool fans sang gleefully about their team's apparent title destiny after full-time and Klopp welcomed the sense of excitement.

    "If our fans could not be in a good mood now that would be really strange," he said.

    "Of course they are allowed to dream, sing, whatever they want, as long as they do their job as well when we play. All fine. We will not be part of that party yet, but it's no problem - we know our job."

  • Alcacer, Mariano and the 'short-term options' Man Utd could target after Rashford injury Alcacer, Mariano and the 'short-term options' Man Utd could target after Rashford injury

    Having already lost key midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay to serious injuries, Manchester United now face the prospect of being without top scorer Marcus Rashford for the most important part of the season.

    The England international aggravated a back injury during a second-half cameo against Wolves in the FA Cup third-round replay victory, and after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer downplayed United's worries, it was later confirmed to be much more serious than first thought.

    Reports began to emerge during United's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool that Rashford had actually been playing through the pain and Solskjaer confirmed he suffered a double stress fracture against Wolves, meaning he could potentially be out for three months.

    As such, Solskjaer acknowledged United might be forced into seeking "short-term" solutions in the transfer market, with Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial their only recognisable forwards.

    Below, we highlight some potential options.

    Paco Alcacer (Borussia Dortmund)

    Spain international Alcacer has had a peculiar time at Dortmund. He managed to score 18 times in the Bundesliga last season even though he only started 11 matches, while he has five top-flight goals this term despite only six of his 11 appearances coming as a starter. While he is a completely different type of forward to Rashford, he does represent a kind of attacker United simply do not have, in that he is a poacher. Following the arrival of Erling Haaland – apparently a target of Solskjaer's before he joined BVB – Alcacer might be attainable.

    Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)

    After falling out of favour at PSG, Uruguay striker Cavani has asked to leave before his contract expires at the end of the season, with Atletico Madrid and others said to be interested. A proven goalscorer and immensely experienced, Cavani would certainly provide United with a focal point they can aim for and play off – though his wages are not insignificant and he might not be entirely suited to counter-attacking football.

    Mariano Diaz (Real Madrid)

    Since returning to Madrid in 2018, Mariano has had a difficult time of it. Niggling injuries have impacted his availability and he has unsurprisingly struggled to make a telling contribution as a result. He is yet to feature in LaLiga this term, having fallen well down the pecking order – but that is not to say Mariano is a poor player. Quick, technically good and certainly capable of finding the net, he is perhaps rather more suited to United's style of play than Alcacer or Cavani.

    Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan)

    In 2018, Bakambu cost Beijing Guoan €40million, the release fee in his contract with previous club Villarreal. The DR Congo striker had enjoyed a solid three-year spell at the Yellow Submarine, with his combination of athleticism, ability on the ball and finishing making him standout as a potential target for bigger clubs. He has continued to score on a regular basis in China and is starting to attract interest from Europe again, with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid apparently keeping tabs on him. United could do a lot worse than the former France youth international.

    Promote from the academy

    Solskjaer certainly can't be accused of neglecting the young talents coming through at the club. If he was to promote from within, rather than dip into the transfer market, D'Mani Mellor and Largie Ramazani would likely be the two frontrunners. Mellor is a 19-year-old forward who likes to drop deep and engage in sharp link-up play with his back to goal, while he is also a capable dribbler. Ramazani, 18, often operates a little more from wider positions, but the Belgium youth international has impressed for United's Under-23s this term with nine goals in 13 league appearances. Excellent on the ball and a possessor of explosive pace, Ramazani certainly seems to fit the mould Solskjaer likes his forwards to be.

  • Ronaldo solves 100 problems for Juventus - Sarri Ronaldo solves 100 problems for Juventus - Sarri

    Maurizio Sarri hailed "champion" Cristiano Ronaldo after his brace saw Juventus to a precious 2-1 Serie A home win against Parma.

    Ronaldo scored in either half to clinch victory on Sunday, capitalising on title rivals Inter's failure to beat Lecce earlier in the day.

    The Portuguese was a defensive contributor, too, yet he was outjumped by Andreas Cornelius as Parma briefly pulled level.

    Sarri is happy to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to his star man, though.

    "We have a champion who sometimes creates a problem for you but solves 100 of them," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The rest of the team has to revolve around him."

    Ronaldo had chances for further goals, and Sarri was frustrated with his team's inability to extend their lead and set up a straightforward finale.

    "The mental intensity can be improved, even the management of certain moments of the matches," he said. "I don't even like dribbling in our own half in the last few minutes.

    "I would prefer to concede a goal on the counter-attack than in our own penalty area.

    "Putting Higuain on at 2-1 was a clear message to the team: let's end the game."

    Victory saw Juve move four points clear of second-placed Inter, although Lazio are also a threat a further two points back but with a game in hand.

    However, Sarri is concerned by neither the Nerazzurri nor the in-form capital club.

    "I have a fear for other things, not for football. Concern? Even that [would not describe it]," he said. "We are talking about sports.

    "We know we have two very strong opponents. One is in an amazing moment that will hopefully not last long."

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