With his first touch in a Manchester United shirt, Edinson Cavani came inches away from a debut goal. He couldn’t make a match-winning difference in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his new signing.
The Uruguayan came off the bench on the hour-mark and helped United to dominate the second half.
“He gives us something different to what we have of course,” Solskjaer said to Sky Sports.
“We now have a centre-forward who is different to the ones we already had.”
Solskjaer: Cavani offers something different to Martial and Rashford
Cavani showed good movement in his half-hour cameo. Inside the box, his near-post runs were threatening. Outside of it, he played on the shoulder of the defensive line. Scott McTominay and Fred couldn’t find him often and perhaps a deeper role for Paul Pogba will be necessary to get the best out of Cavani.
“I’ve said all the time we have a squad full of good players and good characters but now it’s about kicking on after a poor start,” Solskjaer continued.
“The 12 games after we beat PSG last time we were absolutely shocking but this is a decent start.”
The Norwegian coach was eager to point out the difference to football when fans are not in the stadiums. Old Trafford would normally have been filled by 75,000 fans. There were only a few hundred members of staff and journalists there on Saturday evening.
Solskjaer: United need fans back
“I can’t wait, it will be great to see the fans back. We have to get them back.”
“We created half-decent opportunities and their keeper made a couple of fantastic saves.
“If we have the Stretford End full behind that goal I’m sure we could create more pressure and more urgency. It is a different sport with the fans here. We miss them. It’s the same for all teams but everyone agrees there’s a little less in it – the edge has gone. I can’t wait to get the fans back.”
Solskjaer is completely right. The lack of fans has a big impact on the game. This one, after both teams had played in Europe in mid-week, was a dull affair for the first 45 minutes. Had fans been in attendance, the pace of the game would likely have developed quicker than it did. It took United until the second half to have a sustained spell of pressure on the Chelsea goal.
It also represents a problem for the confidence of players. Individuals like Dan James and Harry Maguire – who have come under a lot of criticism over the last few months – need the support of their fans to help regain their confidence. That’s not happening at the moment.
Ole: Van de Beek will get his chance
There were certain fans who Solskjaer wanted to comment on; those who are demanding to see Donny van de Beek in the starting line-up. The £40m summer signing is yet to start a Premier League game.
“He’ll get his games, don’t worry about that,” he said. “It’s easy to say who should be playing and more difficult to say who shouldn’t.”
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