Solskjaer on Man Utd defensive ‘cohesion’, lack of penalties, and potential Ronaldo/Cavani partnership

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed Manchester United’s defensive ‘cohesion’, the club’s recent lack of penalties, and a potential partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.

United face Aston Villa in the Premier League tomorrow lunchtime, looking to continue their unbeaten start to the new league season.


Solskjaer’s side have kept just one clean sheet despite their strong start to the season however, a statistic the Norwegian says his side are working on as summer signing Raphael Varane beds into the backline.

“I’d rather score four or five and concede one than win 1-0, of course,” he told his pre-match press conference. “But, four goals conceded in the first five league games…not too bad. We are still working on the cohesion with Raphael [Varane] coming in.

“So, work in progress. We want to have clean sheets to build performances from because we know we are going to score goals with the forwards we’ve got. Hopefully, I can answer after the weekend after getting a clean sheet, but we are working on it of course.”

Solskjaer also discussed the Red Devils’ lack of penalties in recent fixtures, with Cristiano Ronaldo seeing two appeals turned down at West Ham last weekend.

Jesse Lingard was also denied a strong shout for a spot-kick during the Carabao Cup clash against the same opposition in midweek, and Solskjaer believes that rival managers have contributed to the lack of penalties being awarded to his side.

Last season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was one of the loudest in questioning the number of penalties awarded to United.

“We have to hope that we get what we deserve,” he said. “We should have had three penalties in the last two games.

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“There was a certain manager last year who spoke about us getting penalties, and after that, it seems like the decisions are more difficult to give. I’ve seen a big, big difference since then. But we just have to leave it up to the refs, and hopefully, they will make the right calls very soon.”

Solskjaer also provided an update on the fitness of Edinson Cavani, who will return to the matchday squad tomorrow after picking up a ‘slight strain’ during the international break; the Uruguayan playing a behind closed door fixture for the club after being denied from joining up with his national side.

“He’s in the squad tomorrow,” he confirmed. “He’s been training and now he feels ready to contribute. He came on against Wolverhampton and then he got a slight stain in the international break, but now he’s ready again.

“He’s worked hard and diligently, as he always does and hopefully he will have an impact like he did last season.”

Cavani’s return offers Solskjaer another option at centre-forward and the Red Devils’ boss believes the Uruguayan can form an excellent understanding with summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It is exciting to see them two together,” he admitted. “That will be a good partnership. Those two are boys you like to have around the goal when clubs are not giving you space.”

Read – Premier League preview: Eight talking points ahead of the weekend’s action

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