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Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his side are 'improving and evolving'


Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager on a three-year contract in March

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his young squad is “improving and evolving” in response to their indifferent start to the season.

United have won once in their last five Premier League matches and needed penalties to beat League One Rochdale in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

“I never said it was going to be easy this season,” said the United manager.

“There are going to be ups and downs. When we lose a game we have to trust ourselves and what we’re doing.”

Solskjaer’s side, who were beaten 2-0 by West Ham last weekend, host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Monday night.

“The culture is there, there are no issues with attitude, work-rate or desire,” he added.

“You can see against Astana and Rochdale they want to impress and do well, and maybe they rush their finishing at times.”

On Tuesday, the club announced record revenues of £627m for the year to July but, after a promising 4-0 victory over Chelsea to begin Solskjaer’s first full season in charge, they sit eighth in the league and trail leaders Liverpool by 10 points after six games.

“Any game in the Premier League is winnable but also losable. It’s fine margins,” Solskjaer, 46, said.

“Sometimes you stand there smiling happy to have won a game, sometimes you are angry because you’ve lost. You’ve got to portray the right image.

“You can see how much we’ve improved defensively, that’s where we put the big money in with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. We don’t concede many chances or concede too many goals.

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“Going forward is where we’ve struggled with injuries. Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford – we’ve had some bad luck in that respect. It doesn’t help when you lose players – these boys need to get the pattern of play.”

Solskjaer thanked the fans, who have seen their side finish in the top three of the Premier League once in the past six seasons, for remaining “very, very positive” – and called on the club’s support to “keep going”, despite what may be said about his side in the media.

“I’ve been amazed again by our supporters, to listen to the crowd at Old Trafford, they’re amazing,” he said.

“Keep supporting us, we are going through a leaner patch trophy wise and in results the last few games.

“I don’t worry about what the press write because we are focused on what we have to do – and that is to keep improving.”

Injury problems continue

Teenager Mason Greenwood scored in his second successive appearance for United against Rochdale in midweek in the absence of forwards Rashford and Martial.

Solskjaer said he “wouldn’t put my life” on a return for the injured pair against Arsenal, while midfielder Pogba is “in a race” to be ready for Monday following an ankle knock.

Despite a lack of options, Solskjaer is wary of throwing Greenwood, 17 in at “the deep end”.

“He’s proven when you get him in the box he’s dangerous,” Solskjaer said.

“What’s pleased me about him is he doesn’t turn down chances to finish, so I’m not worried about him at all.

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“We’ve managed him, we can’t just throw him in the deep end all the time, he’s proved in those games he’s ready for it. In the Premier League, I’ll have the weekend to think about it.”

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw is back in training and Solskjaer is hopeful the left-back will return before the next international break in October.



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