Solskjaer seeks immediate rebound

Fred warming up before United's FA Cup fifth-round win over holders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month. He was an unused substitute and will be hoping to feature in today's quarter-final away to Wolves.
Fred warming up before United's FA Cup fifth-round win over holders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month. He was an unused substitute and will be hoping to feature in today's quarter-final away to Wolves.PHOTO: REUTERS

Beating Wolves could ensure confirmation as boss and put United closer to another FA Cup

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look for a response from his Manchester United players after the first domestic loss of his reign when they face Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-finals today.

He tasted defeat for the first time in English football as his side went down 2-0 at Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend, but such has been the reservoir of goodwill built up that it is a matter of when, and not if, he lands the job on a full-time basis.

Some media reports have suggested that Solskjaer could be confirmed as manager during the forthcoming international break, which follows the Wolves tie.

While United officials have offered no guidance on whether the appointment is imminent, it is understood the club and Norwegian outfit Molde have put in place a compensation package should he take on the role for good, with a reported £500,000 (S$897,320) fee agreed.

If the Red Devils can navigate their way past Wolves, not only will the clamour for Solskjaer to put pen to paper reach fever pitch, but they will also have "a real chance" of lifting their 13th FA Cup at Wembley in May.

Sergio Romero, who is the designated Cup goalkeeper, told the club website the team were ready to go on another streak - United were on a club-record nine-game away winning run before the Arsenal game - at Molineux.

WE'RE UP FOR IT

We're really excited about the game ahead of us, it's a really important game against a team that have done really well this season. So it's a big challenge, but we're prepared and confident.

SERGIO ROMERO, United's designated Cup custodian, on the away clash at Wolves, who are riding high in seventh spot after promotion to the top flight.

The Argentina No. 1 said: "We know it's another difficult trip down to Wolves, but we're confident and we know this trophy is very important for us.

"We want to be involved in the very last day that this competition is taking place and give ourselves the chance to lift a trophy, and make everyone at the club and of course our fans very happy.

"We're really excited about the game ahead of us, it's a really important game against a team that have done really well this season. So it's a big challenge, but we're prepared and confident."

Brazil midfielder Fred, who could also feature against Nuno Espirito Santo's men, agreed with his teammate, insisting that United would be "going for the win".

He added: "They're a great team with very good players. But we're well aware that it won't be easy, so we're ready for it."

Solskjaer will be expected to rotate his squad as full-back Ashley Young is suspended, but the injury list is clearing up with Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all in contention to play a part.

  • FA CUP QUARTER-FINALS

  • TODAY

    Watford v Palace Singtel TV Ch111, 8.10pm

    Swansea v Man City Ch111, tomorrow, 1.15am

    Wolves v Man United Ch111, tomorrow, 3.50am

    TOMORROW

    Millwall v Brighton Ch111, 9.55pm

But, whichever team he puts out, the 46-year-old knows Wolves are a significant obstacle to United's hopes of silverware, having already claimed the scalps of Chelsea and Liverpool, while holding Manchester City to a draw at home this term.

With the newly promoted side sitting in a lofty seventh position in the league, Morocco midfielder Romain Saiss also feels his side can "do something great on Saturday" as they seek a first appearance in the Cup's semi-finals for the first time in 21 years.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

WOLVES V MAN UNITED

Singtel TV Ch111, tomorrow, 3.50am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2019, with the headline 'Solskjaer seeks immediate rebound'. Print Edition | Subscribe