EPL

Ex-Man Utd players don't know what they're talking about – Solskjaer defends 'fantastic' Greenwood

By Sports Desk October 23, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has denied reports that young forward Mason Greenwood has been overlooked for selection recently after repeatedly turning up late for training.

Greenwood was not part of the squad for United's victories over Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, owing to what Solskjaer put down to a "niggle".

The 19-year-old was sent home from England duty last month for breaching coronavirus protocols and subsequently dropped by Gareth Southgate for this month's triple-header.

Reports suggested Solskjaer had grown frustrated with the teenage academy product and warned the youngster about his punctuality.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Chelsea, the United boss dismissed those claims and took aim at the media.

"I'm not concerned at all with Mason making a target for himself," Solskjaer said. "He came in, played fantastic, played in the league for the first time against Tottenham and was brilliant. 

"He kicked on and he makes a mistake for England and suddenly the English press go after him. He's never ever late for training. I've seen some ex-United players talking about him and they don't know what they're talking about. 

"He's got a good family behind him and he's a good trainer. I cannot believe all these stories about him not being professional. That's something we have to deal with many players, many other players at United have had that."

Greenwood has made 37 Premier League appearances for United since his debut in March 2019, scoring 10 times, assisting one and laying on 10 chances for his team-mates.

Solskjaer confirmed the youngster is back in contention to face Chelsea this weekend, while new signing Edinson Cavani is in line to make his debut and Harry Maguire is also fit again after missing the trip to PSG.

"I hope and expect all three of them to be available," he said. "We've got a training session this morning which is the last chance of preparation. They've all got a chance.

"Edinson needs to tick all the boxes that he's gone through in his programme to be ready and make an impact. I'll have a discussion with him, Mason and Harry today."

United are playing at Old Trafford for the first time since losing 6-1 to Tottenham three weeks ago – their joint heaviest defeat in the Premier League.

They have since beaten Newcastle and PSG in back-to-back away games, but Solskjaer admitted nothing will exorcise the demons from the humiliating loss to Spurs.

"I don't think anything will erase that memory – it'll always be in the history books and we have always got to live with having that result," he said. 

"You can look back at different reasons why we had that result but we have got to move forward.

"It's happened so many times at this club that you have results out of the blue or setbacks, so far we have bounced back well.

"It's very important for players that if you lose games you're determined to win, to bounce back, and I saw that focus at Newcastle and PSG.

"It gives you more belief and confidence, two good performances and results but the next game is what we're focused on."

United are unbeaten in their last seven league meetings with Chelsea and won this corresponding fixture 4-0 on the opening weekend of last season, but Solskjaer is anticipating a difficult game.

"We know it’s gonna be tough against Chelsea – two teams that know each other really well," Solskjaer said.

"Addressing our home form is key. The whole lockdown period has made us do things differently at home so we may need to find a different way to beat them."

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