Play to win: Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer obliging fans with a photo after training at the Perth Stadium. The English Premier League club is touring Australia and will play Leeds United today before heading to Singapore.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer obliging fans with a photo after training at the Perth Stadium. The English Premier League club is touring Australia and will play Leeds United today before heading to Singapore.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

United boss wants team to be 'competitive' against Leeds before they head to Singapore

PERTH • Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is relishing the chance to renew the rivalry between his team and Leeds United today, as the Red Devils wrap up a 10-day visit to Perth before heading to Singapore for the International Champions Cup this weekend.

After an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth Glory last Saturday, United will be hoping for a better performance against one-time bitter rivals Leeds in their second pre-season friendly in the Western Australia city.

The rivalry has simmered since Leeds' relegation from the English Premier League in 2004, but hostilities between the passionate fan bases are still evident with extra security measures being put in place by organisers at Perth Stadium.

Solskjaer said that United were excited ahead of the clash.

"Of course you want to have games against the biggest clubs," he said at a pre-match press conference yesterday.

"If we see Leeds back up in the Premier League one day, I'm sure you can see the size of the game.

"It's a great occasion for both sets of supporters and the players because there were great games (in the past).

"It will be a competitive match. I want my players to go out there and try to win a game of football, and I think that's the same with (Leeds coach) Marcelo (Bielsa).

OPPOSITION DOESN'T MATTER

We're competitive. If we play a game, you want to win... So you go out there and, if it's Leeds, Liverpool or Perth Glory, you just want to win a game of football.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Manchester United manager, on simply wanting to win.

"We're competitive. If we play a game, you want to win... So you go out there and, if it's Leeds, Liverpool or Perth Glory, you just want to win a game of football."

Leeds missed a chance for promotion to the Premier League when they lost to a Frank Lampard-led Derby County in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

Today's match is the first meeting between both sides since a 3-0 League Cup third-round victory for United in 2011.

After the game, Leeds will head to Sydney to take on Western Sydney Wanderers, while United will have further pre-season matches against Inter Milan at the National Stadium here on Saturday and Tottenham in Shanghai on July 25.

Against lesser opponents in Perth Glory, critics felt that United should have won by a bigger margin, but Solskjaer is unconcerned.

The Norwegian said: "Obviously, it's the first game and you play an opposition we didn't know too much about.

"We set out like we hope to continue with intensity, aggression and energy, so I've been encouraged by the whole pre-season.

"The way everyone's come back and showed me that they want to be a part of this and I'm just looking forward to the next coming weeks."

Winger Daniel James demonstrated his pace and energy down both flanks against Perth on his debut and Solskjaer was optimistic about the club's new signing.

"Dan can play all across the front line. Obviously more right and left wing, but he can play through the middle as well," he said. "I'm sure you will see him both right and left throughout the season."

Besides James, United have signed right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and the England Under-21 International also played his first game against Perth.

Solskjaer chose two different line-ups - one in each half - against Perth and he is set to give goalkeeper David de Gea, defenders Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, and striker Romelu Lukaku their first pre-season starts against Leeds.

Luke Shaw, who did not complete a planned 45 minutes, may not be risked after the left-back felt tightness in his hamstring.

The United manager also revealed that young goalkeeper Dean Henderson, defender Matteo Darmian and midfielder Fred are set to join the squad in Singapore after being given extended leave for family reasons.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2019, with the headline 'Play to win: Solskjaer'. Print Edition | Subscribe