Solskjaer wants Lukaku, Sanchez to step up amid Man United injury crisis

With Manchester United's usual starting forwards injured, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to impress.

Manchester United duo Romelu Lukaku (left) and Alexis Sanchez will be getting more playing time considering United's long injury list.   -  Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to seize their opportunities, with the Manchester United pair likely to be given further chances to impress amid an injury crisis.

Both Lukaku and Sanchez have fallen out of favour at Old Trafford under interim boss Solskjaer, who has preferred the speed of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in his front three. But that trio have all suffered injuries in recent weeks and only Rashford is in contention to face Crystal Palace on Wednesday, although he is yet to be assessed for an ankle ailment.

Lukaku started and impressed in a goalless draw against Liverpool at the weekend, while Sanchez came off the bench, and Solskjaer acknowledges that the duo will now have further chances to star.

"It is a chance for them to play to their potential," the manager told a pre-match news conference. "Reputation is one thing but their potential is high. The two of them are good mates, they link up well together, so this might be a chance for them together to find some form and give us a selection headache for when everyone is fit again.

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"[The opportunity] has been coming – Rom created our two biggest chances against Liverpool. It is a different position for him, I know, because Rashy's injury meant we had to rely on him standing up there and running in behind. He couldn't do too much defending.

"Rom's attitude and work rate was fantastic and the two chances - Jesse's and Chris [Smalling] at the end - were Rom's doing. Hopefully Alexis and Rom can step up."

Jesse Lingard, who replaced Mata despite being deemed not fit enough to start following a hamstring injury, was substituted by Alexis Sanchez after aggravating his injury.   -  AP

 

Ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace, Solskjaer revealed there has been no let-up in United's injury crisis and it appears that game is going to come too soon for several of his stars.

"We've not had a session yet so I don't think there are a lot of positives, no," he told a pre-match news conference. "I don't know the list that's supposed to be injured.

"Matteo [Darmian] trained the other day, but I don't think he'll be ready. [Marcus] Rojo has been training, so hopefully he will be involved.

"With Rashy, we're still waiting to see how his ankle is responding to the treatment. But the muscle injuries are too early to think about. That's it. There's quite a few out."

Going into detail on some of the other absentees, Solskjaer continued: "Phil [Jones] was ill one of these days, so he's been out for a little while as well with an illness. Luckily, at centre-back, there are quite a few fit ones. [Eric] Bailly, [Chris] Smalling and [Victor] Lindelof, the three of them are ready.

"[Antonio] Valencia is a bit off because he did his calf again. He's started running, but he's still a few weeks off.

"[Anthony] Martial is not going to be ready for this one either - we can't risk it. Maybe Southampton [on Saturday, he will be back] but we're not going to risk another one too early.

"In hindsight, maybe you can say Jesse was overeager [on Sunday]. He ticked all the boxes in training, had done all the recovery work and rehab, but maybe it was a couple of days too early. Then again, it was Liverpool and he was desperate to be part of it."

Joking about the lengths United will have to go to in order to form a squad on Wednesday, Solskjaer, 46, added of his own involvement: "I don't think age is the problem. The problem is my fitness."

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At the other end of the spectrum, though, the United boss confirmed that some of the club's younger players had joined in training and would be involved at Selhurst Park.

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