Manchester United faces fixture congestion after draw with Wolves

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer visibly annoyed at proceedings during Manchester United's FA Cup third round 0-0 draw against Wolves on Saturday. But he is thankful to be still in contention for silverware.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer visibly annoyed at proceedings during Manchester United's FA Cup third round 0-0 draw against Wolves on Saturday. But he is thankful to be still in contention for silverware. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Manchester United are facing a fixture pile-up with a possible eight matches to be played between now and Feb 1, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is just thankful to be still in contention for silverware.

The goal-less draw at Wolves on Saturday night means their FA Cup third-round replay will have to take place on Jan 14.

But before that Old Trafford meeting, United will have to navigate the first leg of their League Cup semi-final with crosstown rivals City tomorrow.

They also need to contend with subsequent Premier League games against Norwich, runaway leaders Liverpool and Burnley.

Should United get past Wolves, the fourth round of the FA Cup will take place between Jan 25 and Jan 28, before they round off the month with the second leg against City, followed by another clash with Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Having now failed to beat Wolves in five games since their return to the English top flight last season, Solskjaer is full of respect for the Midlands side, who knocked the Red Devils out of the competition at the quarter-final stage last March.

Insisting Molineux was "a tough place to come", the United manager, whose side failed to record a shot on target for the first time in five years, said: "I'm happier to be in the replay than going out.

"We were hoping to go through tonight, but we're still in it. We're still in the hat and at home, (where) there's a little bit more of a chance of going through.

"Wolves are a good team, a strong team, very physical. I thought we played well in the first half and dominated the possession.

 

  • Shots on target by United for the first time in a domestic game since 2015.

"But then they took over in the second half which made it an even tougher game.

"Of course, we got off the hook when he (Matt Doherty) mistimed his header and it hit his arm (resulting in a disallowed goal). But it was an even game and a draw is a fair result."

Victor Lindelof agreed with that assessment, claiming they "did a great job" by holding Wolves at bay despite making eight changes from the 2-0 loss to Arsenal for just their third clean sheet in domestic competition since September.

Solskjaer also chose to start academy products Brandon Williams, 19, Tahith Chong, 20, and Mason Greenwood, 18, to preserve others for the City game.

But the Norwegian opted against resting Harry Maguire and the defender is a doubt to play against Pep Guardiola's men.

On whether Maguire would be fit, he told BT Sport: "I don't know. We were close to taking him off, but he battled through.

"Let's see how he recovers. We hope so. It's not many days and then we go again Tuesday."

The improved defensive display did not impress Rio Ferdinand, who blasted his former team for blowing hot and cold this term .

The pundit told BT Sport: "It's still a work in progress. With the young players and the players he's got out, the inconsistency is not understandable."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2020, with the headline 'United faces fixture congestion after draw with Wolves'. Print Edition | Subscribe