Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismisses fatigue concerns as fixtures pile up

United will be playing twice a week for the rest of the month

Nick Mashiter
Saturday 04 January 2020 21:59
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on from the touchline
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on from the touchline

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed fears of fatigue at Manchester United after they were forced to settle for an FA Cup replay by Wolves.

The visitors failed to have a shot on target, drawing a blank for a third game in their last five outings in a goalless stalemate at Molineux. A replay in 10 days will be Wolves’ 38th game of the season and also takes up United’s only free mid-week this month.

But Solskjaer, whose side play the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Tuesday, insisted another match does not faze him.

He said: “We do have enough games and we will probably play Wolves in the Europa League soon, but that’s what we’re in it for. I would rather have a replay than go out. When I played we drew Burton away and they got us at Old Trafford, we beat them 5-0 but it’s great days out for them as well.

“It’s not just about the top teams having too many games. It’s about the draw and romance. We had nine games in 29 or 30 days in December so we might as well carry on. It’s the schedule we are in and have to accept it. I am full of praise for the players and how they cope with it.”

Solskjaer also defended United’s attack after Marcus Rashford’s deflected effort hitting the bar was as close as they came.

“You can say Marcus’ shot is not on target but it’s going in if Conor Coady’s heel isn’t there. We had chances,” he said. “In the first half we had the possession, in the second half they had possession and a couple of chances. Both teams could have won it.”

Matt Doherty was denied by a superb Sergio Romero save and had a goal disallowed for handball in the second half. Brandon Williams also had a penalty claim turned down in the first half for United. Raul Jimenez struck the woodwork late on for the hosts and, facing another game, boss Nuno Espirito Santo would prefer a shoot-out to settle the game on the night.

He said: “I would like to go straight to penalties but we did enough. The second half was very good. We have to go and compete at Old Trafford, but if you ask me what my preference is, straight to penalties. The game would become more emotional because both teams would go for it.

“It was a good performance, we controlled the game in the second half. Now we have to play again.”

Nuno also gave a full debut to striker Benny Ashley-Seal, ahead of £16million summer buy Patrick Cutrone. The striker has struggled to make an impact at Molineux and Nuno confirmed he could leave this month.

He added: “I had a good conversation with Patrick. We decided for him not to be involved. It was the best decision, let’s wait and see. Maybe something will be happening about that.”

PA

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