Van de Beek's lack of minutes says a lot about Man Utd's ambitions - Solskjaer

By Sports Desk October 27, 2020

Donny van de Beek has a big part to play this season and his lack of minutes so far only highlights Manchester United's lofty ambitions, according to boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Netherlands international has yet to start a Premier League game for United since joining from Ajax at the start of the season in a deal that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

He was an unused substitute in Saturday's goalless draw with Chelsea and has barely an hour of football to his name across four league matches this term.

Dutch great Marco van Basten this week became the latest high-profile figure to question his compatriot's decision to join United, having also been linked with Real Madrid.

But speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with RB Leipzig, Solskjaer once again stressed Van de Beek remains a part of his long-term plans.

"When players come into a new league, new team, it is always going to be a time for adaption," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference.

"Donny has played well when he has played. It says a lot about our depth of quality that we don't have to use him every game. I also think it says a lot about our ambitions.

"We want to push on and challenge for trophies. Donny will play a big, big part this year. I know the topic is about Donny van de Beek.

"It's nice for some players or commentators to have a go, and I know you're short for time on TV and have to put points across quickly.

"But you don't have to start the first three games to be an important player. I'd be disappointed if my team-mates said I wasn't important because I didn't start many games.

"Donny will be very important for us, don't worry about that."

Solskjaer also named Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic on the bench for the stalemate against Chelsea, with Fred and Scott McTominay getting the nod behind Bruno Fernandes.

The midweek visit of Leipzig presents the Norwegian with another opportunity to rotate in midfield as United look to build on their 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in last week's Group H opener.

"It's going to be a long season. The depth of our squad is better now. To leave players out like Donny, Nemanja and Paul... they're all experienced international footballers," Solskjaer said.

"It's not easy. But we have so many games and they will all play a massive part in different periods. Nobody can play every game.

"When you put 11 together they have to work together as a team. Is it two or three in midfield? Who is on form, who needs a break?"

Solskjaer, who won 12 trophies during an 11-season playing career at Old Trafford, added: "I've been part of a successful Man United team myself.

"We had two players in every position. The more successful teams, the teams that win trophies, they have competition for places. It's not easy, it's very difficult.

"I don't feel pressure. Pressure is getting results. I've got to plan the next three or four games - we need to win more than just the next one. It's a nice problem to have.

"I'd rather have that than play players who are not ready for the Premier League."

McTominay started last week's win at the Parc des Princes and echoed the thoughts of his manager with regards to Van de Beek's limited playing time so far.

"I'm confident he will be an important figure. He has lifted everyone else along with the other new boys - top signings who can lift the dressing room," he said.

"We saw that in Paris, with the performances of Donny and Alex [Telles]. There's no time to panic - people are quick to come to quick assumptions. Let him settle into his new house and concentrate on playing."

United are unbeaten in their last 10 home matches against German sides in European competition, winning seven and drawing three of those, with their last such defeat coming at the hands of Bayern Munich in April 2001.

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