Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended the club’s decision to let both Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku go this summer, despite not signing any direct replacements.
Sanchez joined Lukaku at Inter when he completed his loan switch to the Serie A club on Thursday evening, but United have now been criticised for leaving the squad too thin.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and 17-year-old Mason Greenwood are the first-team squad’s only recognised strikers, but Solskjaer is also counting on wingers and attacking midfielders, of which there are plenty more available to him, to chip in when needed.
Rashford and Martial have each scored twice so far this season. But so too has summer signing Daniel James, while Solskjaer also seemingly has big plans for Andreas Pereira and 19-year-old Tahith Chong after name-dropping both at his weekly press conference.
“I’m trusting Anthony, Marcus and Mason to be our centre-forwards,” the United boss said. “We’ve got wingers in Chongy, Daniel James, Pereira — we’ve got loads of options.”
On our attacking players, Ole says: “I’m trusting Anthony, Marcus and Mason to be our centre-forwards. We’ve got wingers in Chongy, Daniel James, Pereira — we’ve got loads of options.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/CzOgIPPWtV
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 30, 2019
Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Angel Gomes will provide further options, although Lingard in particular has failed to score or assist a Premier League goal this calendar year.
Solskjaer is stripping away the deadwood as promised, although the club hasn’t been reliant on such a young set of players since the summer of 1995 when the likes of Gary Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville came to the fore.
“For me, it’s time for our boys to feel that pressure and responsibility, to be more robust, to know they have to play five games in a row,” Solskjaer said, as quoted by The Guardian.
“I trust the fitness staff and medical staff and the pre-season work; we’re mentally and physically more ready. That’s the next step for our young players.
“Alexis needed to go – at the moment we know he’s been here for 18 months and it’s not really worked out for him. For him to restart and get himself playing regularly and scoring goals, that will only benefit everyone in the end. We’re going to watch every weekend to see Romelu and Alexis playing together. He will come good for them.”