Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Tahith Chong ahead of Manchester derby

The fixtures are mounting up for Manchester United and an already thin squad is being stretched by fatigue and injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made changes for the weekend visit to Molineux to face Wolves in the FA Cup and United drew 0-0.

Solskjaer has been talking to United’s official website about the players who played against the Old Gold who could keep their spots Manchester City tonight and namechecked academy graduate Tahith Chong.

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What did he say?

Solskjaer was asked whether the performances of Sergio Romero and Brandon Williams made picking his team to face City harder and said: “They normally do when they get their chances. Tahith [Chong] as well.

“He’s one of those players who was out for a while and he really performed and played well.”

Of course Solskjaer could have just been keen to talk up a young player whose confidence likely took a hit against Astana in the Europa League when he missed a sitter.

But namechecking Chong personally raises the prospect that he could keep his place in the side for the game against City, especially with Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial among the injury doubts.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Not in Under 23 action

United’s Under 23 side travelled to London to face West Ham – losing 2-0 – but Chong was not part of the squad.

That makes it very likely he will be involved against City in some form and if Solskjaer was suitably impressed with his turn against Wolves, he may keep his place in the starting side.

The side Solskjaer picks needs to be capable of breaking at speed and if the likes of Martial and Lingard are absent, Chong would be better suited to stepping in than the more languid Juan Mata, despite his far greater experience.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.