Ole de­fends de­ci­sion to play Mar­cus

Pretoria News - - SPORT -

OLE Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer last night re­jected an ac­cu­sa­tion that he put him­self be­fore Mar­cus Rash­ford’s health but is giv­ing no guar­an­tees the stricken Manch­ester United striker will play again this sea­son.

BBC pun­dit Ian Wright claimed that Sol­sk­jaer is re­spon­si­ble for Rash­ford’s back in­jury af­ter us­ing him as a sub­sti­tute in the FA Cup re­play against Wolves last week even though he wasn’t fully fit. The 22-year-old suf­fered a dou­ble stress frac­ture and now faces months of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Sol­sk­jaer hit back at the for­mer Ar­se­nal striker ahead of United’s game at home to Burn­ley tonight and in­sisted Rash­ford was not al­ready car­ry­ing an in­jury when he came on.

“I never put my­self be­fore the team,” he said. “I al­ways put the team and the club be­fore any­thing else. We have to man­age play­ers ev­ery sin­gle day, loads of things that Ian Wright doesn’t know about. This one is just one of those un­for­tu­nate things. Mar­cus has had mi­nor dis­com­fort in his back since the Burn­ley game on De­cem­ber 28. We’ve had scans and mon­i­tored him. There’s not been any in­jury there. He was very, very adamant that, if needed, he could do at least half an hour against Wolves be­cause we want to go through in the FA Cup.

“That is what you do when you play for Man United. Ev­ery time you play you put your body on the line.

“I have suf­fered some in­juries for the club. But I can­not mi­cro­man­age ev­ery sin­gle player.’’

United hope their Eng­land for­ward will not re­quire surgery. But, hav­ing said that Rash­ford will need an ini­tial pe­riod of six weeks’ rest, Sol­sk­jaer ad­mit­ted it will be months be­fore he returns.

Asked if United’s 19-goal top scorer could miss the rest of the sea­son and po­ten­tially Euro 2020, he replied: ‘Mar­cus is go­ing to get as long as he needs to get fit. We are not go­ing to risk him when he has had an in­jury.”

Rash­ford’s in­jury has again high­lighted United’s blun­der in al­low­ing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join In­ter Mi­lan last sum­mer with­out a re­place­ment. “Harry Hind­sight? He’s quite clever,” added Sol­sk­jaer.”But the best so­lu­tion is the play­ers step­ping up. Ma­son Green­wood is go­ing to get more chances now and Juan Mata will have to step up again.’

United have been charged by the FA for fail­ing to en­sure their play­ers ‘con­ducted them­selves in an or­derly fash­ion’ af­ter they protested to ref­eree Craig Paw­son for ini­tially award­ing Roberto Firmino’s goal — later ruled out by VAR — in Sun­day’s loss at Liver­pool.

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer

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