With a crucial match against top four rivals Arsenal on Monday night, Manchester United are still waiting for updates on injuries to key attacking players Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management must be seen as one cause of United’s lengthy injury list.
Solskjaer gives a front of calmness and positivity. Even after the most humiliating defeats to West Ham and Cardiff, he has been overwhelming confident in his own methods.
Solskjaer decisions causing injuries
Some blame his high-intensity training can cause injury. They’d be right but there’s no evidence for that yet. It’s also his management before and during games. Marcus Rashford started three games in a week and was forced off after an hour of the third.
Solskjaer admitted it could be a serious groin injury. It was no surprise. Rashford had no need to start against Astana on the Thursday night. They are a team United should have beaten comfortably with or without the England striker.
The same was true for Paul Pogba who had been out for the whole of September. He made his return in mid-week for what should have been an easy fixture against Rochdale. He had some good moments but was quiet and looked like a player rushed back into contention.
At full-time, Pogba couldn’t take a penalty in the shoot-out and then hobbled out of Old Trafford with a swollen ankle. His teammates shared a late-night meal together but Pogba went to treat his new injury. “He’s in a race for Monday,” Solskjaer confirmed. A Pogba-less United could struggle against Arsenal.
Injuries contributed to United collapse
“The injuries we’ve had have mostly been to forward players, so it has been more difficult to settle that front four or five if you like,” Solskjaer said, and he’s right.
United started the season with an entertaining 4-0 win against Chelsea. Were it not for a missed penalty against Wolves, it would have been two good wins out of two. Then things dropped off as Solskjaer’s forwards joined each other on the injury table.
Some of them could have been avoided but United are under pressure and, even if he appears calm, so is Solskjaer. With such poor form to start the campaign, he has to start and overuse his best players .
Solskjaer claims United have “had some bad luck in that respect,” and that is true. But it’s not just that some injuries were avoidable but also that Solskjaer chose to go with a thin squad. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were both given United exits after the English transfer deadline had passed. Sanchez had been woeful for United but Lukaku could have stayed and scored.
The Norwegian needs to adapt his management style to the thin squad that Ed Woodward’s incompetence has left to him. It’s another task to add to a growing stack for Solskjaer.
Even though he’s not been helped by his board or by his players, criticism is fair when it comes to injuries.
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