Man Utd: Solskjaer responds to racism directed at Rashford
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown his ruthless streak as a player still lingers. Speaking ahead of his side’s Premier League showdown, he hailed Joe Hugill for his four-goal haul in the Under-23’s recent 6-3 win over Liverpool. But he did suggest he was annoyed at the 17-year-old for not taking a penalty in that game, with Amad Diallo converting the spot-kick instead.
United were too strong for Liverpool’s youth team on Saturday, winning 6-3 at Melwood.
And while fans on social media drooled over the performance of Diallo, who was making his first appearance for the club since a £37million move from Atalanta, it was Hugill who caught his manager’s eye.
The 17-year-old scored four goals that day, showcasing his predatory instincts with a ruthless display.
And Solskjaer, while full of praise for Hugill, suggested he was annoyed at the striker for passing on the chance to score a penalty.
“We’re going to give him the time to settle in,” he said when asked about Diallo, who scored twice.
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“If we go from that game [vs Liverpool], I’d pick Joe Hugill.
“Four goals by Hugill, he’s a top striker as well, we’re looking forward to seeing his development.
“Amad gets a good start and why Joe didn’t take the penalty himself to get five goals I’m going to ask him.”
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That final line, about Solskjaer’s promise to talk to Hugill to get to the bottom of the master, shows he still possesses the same ruthless streak as manager.
As a player, he was nick-named the ‘baby-faced assassin’.
Not just because of his youthful looks, which he’s still managed to retain despite the stress of being United manager, but because he was a killer in front of goal.
Solskjaer loved scoring goals. It was what made him so popular at Old Trafford, especially the one he scored in the 1999 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.
And he’s been trying to get his players to adopt a similar mentality.
After succeeding Jose Mourinho in December 2018, he’s made it his mission to elevate the games of the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Solskjaer revealed after a dramatic 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain that he was on at Rashford to be more deadly, saying: “I keep battering him with it that he also should score as many goals as Rom [Romelu Lukaku] after the training session has finished.
“He should always get those simple tap-ins, finishes from close range, like Rom scored in the last few games.
“Rashy’s [Rashford’s] goals are sometimes worldies and he does have a sensational strike of the ball.
“But you see the improvement and maturity and change in Cristiano’s goals from when he was young to now, and he scores more from inside the box.
“That’s what he has to do, improve his tap-ins, movement in the box, staying in the box, getting away from the centre backs a few more times. You can get those extra five or 10 goals from staying in the box, and he’s been told that.”
Solskjaer rarely passed up the chance to score.
And he wants his current crop of forwards, across all levels, to find the net with increasingly regularity.
That’s what he’s likely to drum into Hugill who, on current form, could be set to feature for the first team sooner rather than later.
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