Solskjaer hails Greenwood's growing 'dimension'

Mason Greenwood's goal, a diving header from Paul Pogba's speculative volley, in the 2-1 win over Brighton on Sunday was only his second in the Premier League in 24 appearances.
Mason Greenwood's goal, a diving header from Paul Pogba's speculative volley, in the 2-1 win over Brighton on Sunday was only his second in the Premier League in 24 appearances.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Mason Greenwood is adding another string to his bow after the forward scored an instinctive winner in Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Former United striker Danny Welbeck headed Brighton into a 13th-minute lead before Marcus Rashford equalised and Greenwood, 19, got on the end of a speculative Paul Pogba volley to complete their fightback.

The England international had an outstanding debut year, netting 17 goals in all competitions last season, including 10 in the top flight, but has found his second season tougher going, with just two league goals from 24 appearances.

Greenwood was seemingly affected by the scandal that erupted after he and Manchester City's Phil Foden invited two Icelandic models to their hotel room in breach of Covid-19 protocols, forcing England manager Gareth Southgate to drop them last September.

The incident was swiftly followed by another one involving laughing gas, which Greenwood admitted to showing "poor judgment".

Pundits like former United defender Paul Parker have since questioned whether the 19-year-old is overrated, but Solskjaer has firm belief in the academy product's potential.

On Greenwood, who is set to feature more regularly for the rest of the campaign as France forward Anthony Martial is likely to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury suffered on international duty, the Norwegian said: "I'm so happy for him. When he gets those goals, we know that he's going to add another dimension to his game.

"I'm pleased with his overall performance, again very good. He was bright, tidy, clean on the ball, hit the post and one that went over the bar, maybe deflected, in the second half."

Aside from defender Eric Bailly, who Solskjaer revealed would be out for "a little while" after he tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty with Ivory Coast, United look in good shape as they gear up for battle on two fronts.

Their Premier League title hopes are faint - they are 14 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City with eight games left - so Solskjaer wants to wrap up second spot and Champions League qualification as soon as possible.

"It doesn't really matter what anyone else does, as long as we win and we get our points, we're in second place," he said. "It's a long way up (to City) but we want to consolidate second place."

Solskjaer's side next face La Liga's Granada in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie on Thursday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2021, with the headline 'Solskjaer hails Greenwood's growing 'dimension''. Subscribe