AMAZ­ING PEA SHOOT

Her­nan­dez a United su­per sub in Sol­sk­jaer mould

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By FRANK MCCAULEY

MANCH­ESTER UNITED striker Javier Her­nan­dez does not know if it is luck or judg­ment which has made him the new Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer.

De­spite be­ing at the Premier League cham­pi­ons for less than two years, Her­nan­dez has al­ready se­cured joint sec­ond spot along­side long-serv­ing Ryan Giggs among the club’s top­scor­ing sub­sti­tutes.

The Mex­i­can net­ted his 10th goal off the bench ear­lier this month as United grabbed that thrilling 3-3 come­back draw at Chelsea.

Only Sol­sk­jaer has more, with 28 of the Nor­we­gian’s 126 United goals be­ing scored as a sub­sti­tute.

Sir Alex Fer­gu­son al­ways felt one of Sol­sk­jaer’s main strengths was the in­tense way he watched a match from the bench, which en­sured he was fully pre­pared to take ad­van­tage of any de­fen­sive frailty when he came on.

Her­nan­dez ap­pears to share that trait, although he does not know why he has been so suc­cess­ful.

“I don’t have the an­swer to what makes me ef­fec­tive as a sub­sti­tute,” he said.

“In foot­ball you can al­ways come up with a rea­son for any­thing. Per­haps it is noth­ing more than hav­ing a lit­tle bit of luck.

“I just know if I play one minute, or 10, or 90, I try to play the same way. My mind is al­ways to do my best and help my team.”

Rather than get bogged down analysing parts of the game he can­not con­trol, Her­nan­dez con­cen­trates on the fun­da­men­tals.

“The only thing I can change is my at­ti­tude. I can do ev­ery­thing I want with that,” said the 23-year-old.

In­jury

“There are parts of the game I can­not do any­thing about. But I can en­sure my at­ti­tude.”

Chichar­ito’s goal against Ajax in last week’s Europa League last-32 clash means “Lit­tle Pea” has now scored on his last three ap­pear­ances.

His sea­son’s tally of nine, level with Danny Wel­beck and Dim­i­tar Ber­ba­tov, is not bad con­sid­er­ing the amount of time he has been miss­ing through in­jury.

Yet Fer­gu­son ap­pre­ci­ates that Her­nan­dez will not be knock­ing on his door de­mand­ing to know why he still can’t get a start­ing spot.

“I don’t care if I am on the bench,” said Chichar­ito.

“Last year I was on the bench for a long time. I still got into the team at the end of the sea­son.

“Ev­ery player in ev­ery team wants to play as many min­utes as pos­si­ble. It is the gaffer who has the an­swers.

“Some­times foot­ball is go­ing to give you good things. Some­times it won’t.

“I just want to en­joy it be­cause I am liv­ing a dream to play for Manch­ester United.”

SUB HERO: Her­nan­dez scores United’s equaliser against Chelsea and sinks to his knees (inset) in cel­e­bra­tion IN­TENSE: Sol­sk­jaer

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