Injuries force Solskjaer to turn to reserves

LONDON • Manchester United could have up to nine injured first-team players when they travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League today, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that his Under-23s can step up in their absences.

Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are all on the sidelines, while Marcus Rashford is in doubt after suffering an ankle knock during last Sunday's 0-0 draw with Liverpool.

Speaking at his pre-match conference yesterday, interim manager Solskjaer hinted that Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner could play a part today.

"They've been part of our training for a long time now and I'm sure Angel has been successful with England's Under-17s. I'm definitely sure that if he gets a chance, he'll do well," said the Norwegian, who turned 46 yesterday.

"James Garner is a Michael Carrick but 20 years younger, I'm sure he'll do well and Chongy will be taking people on if he comes on.

"They're ready, they're kids. It's hard if you're a defender coming on if you're 16 or 17 but, as an attacker, you go out there and express yourself. They can win you the game, not lose it for you."

United have yet to lose a league game since Solskjaer took over in December.

Palace, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions.

[4-1]He said: "We have to be good on the ball, break them down, but we know on the counter-attack they've got some pace and counter-attacking threat, so we've got to be at our best."[/4-1]

United go into the match in fifth place on 52 points, one behind fourth-placed Arsenal and two ahead of Chelsea, who have a game in hand.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson, however, believes that the Gunners are "flat-track bullies" and will not finish fourth with just 11 games left.

He said ahead of their game today: "With Bournemouth's injuries, I can only see an Arsenal win. But they've got a bad result in them. They will be caught up in the end."



Singtel TV Ch106 & StarHub Ch231, tomorrow, 3.50am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2019, with the headline 'Injuries force Solskjaer to turn to reserves'. Print Edition | Subscribe