Solskjaer keeps Wolves in view as games pile up

LONDON • After today's FA Cup third-round replay with Wolves, Manchester United will still have to contend with at least four more games by Feb 1.

The meeting at Old Trafford will be their 14th fixture since the start of last month and, should they progress, the fourth-round tie on Jan 26 awaits.

But United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unperturbed by their fixture pile-up, insisting at his pre-match press conference that wins build momentum.

He said yesterday: "Results give you energy. For me, I'm fine.

"I only have to see you (the media) before the game and after the game, so I do six press conferences every week when we've got all these games.

"Just counting, this will be our 14th game in 45 days. We've still got another four or five games before the winter break, so it's relentless."

Referencing how the players "felt good" after the 4-0 thumping of Norwich on Saturday, Solskjaer claimed settling into a "rhythm" would help his team shed their inconsistency.

A win over Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves would also put United in a better frame of mind ahead of Sunday's trip to runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

However, after having failed to beat Nuno's side in five games since their return to the English top flight last season, Solskjaer will not look past today's challenge as he aims to take a step closer towards winning his first piece of silverware since being appointed last March.

He added: "We've played them so many times now, so of course we're going to be facing a team that know more or less everything about us, and we know more or less everything about them.

"We've got them in a couple of weeks again in the league... We're at home, we want to make sure that we go through. I've loved my time in the (Cup) finals and lifting a trophy, so we want to go through."

Still, he admitted that the sheer number of games his squad have to play at the moment makes it "physically and mentally demanding", which is why they are looking at signing Sporting Lisbon's Bruno Fernandes this month.

The Portugal midfielder would be a quality addition, with eight goals this term, and talks are ongoing, though both clubs remain far apart in their valuation.

According to Sky Sports, Sporting want £60 million (S$105 million) plus defender Marcos Rojo before sanctioning Fernandes' exit.

Solskjaer was tight-lipped on the negotiations, only saying he had "no news now".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2020, with the headline 'Solskjaer keeps Wolves in view as games pile up'. Print Edition | Subscribe