2019-03-15 by W.M.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says Romelu Lukaku a Doubt for Wolves Clash, Alexis Absent
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Romelu Lukaku is in doubt for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Anthony Martial is fit and Alexis Sanchez remains sidelined.
Lukaku has scored six goals in his last four games, but Solskjaer said at a press conference on Friday that the Belgian’s foot injury meant he was still in doubt, per BBC Sport’s Simon Stone:
Simon Stone @sistoney67
OGS on @ManUtd injury news ahead of Wolves trip. Says Lukaku ‘will be assessed’ has sore foot. Greenwood also checked after illness. Phil Jones and Anthony Martial are ‘back’. Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard training. “We’ve got a decision to make tomorrow on who’s match fit.”
Sanchez missed Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday due to a knee injury, and his boss gave an estimate as to when the Chilean will be back in contention: “He’s coming back on Sunday, he’s not been on grass yet, he’s been seeing his people in Barcelona. He’s still a few weeks away, so if we get to round about Everton, City, Chelsea, that period he’ll probably be available.”
It seems likely neither Ander Herrera nor Jesse Lingard will feature at Molineux after only just returning to training. The visitors will be boosted by the returns of star winger Martial and centre-back Phil Jones.
Their loss at the Emirates Stadium brought an end to Solskjaer’s 15-match unbeaten domestic run at United’s helm, but progress to the FA Cup semi-finals would help make up for losing ground in the Premier League. United are now fifth and two points behind the Gunners.
Despite the result against Arsenal, Solskjaer said after the loss that he was proud of how his side played, and he emphasised again on Friday that he didn’t think they were poor in that game:
“You’re always measured on results, but we played a good game against Arsenal. [We’ve] played so much worse and won games, and that’s the strange thing when you’re a manager, you can look behind the result and say that was a good performance [but] didn’t get what we deserved.
“It’s so strange, the Arsenal one, very disappointed in the result. It hurts more than anything. But we can’t look at the performance and say we were s–t, because we weren’t, to be honest and blunt, we weren’t, we played well.”
The Red Devils were recently joined by Liverpool and Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, with Premier League teams accounting for half the remaining knockout slots.
Solskjaer praised what’s been English football’s best season in Europe so far for a number of years, per Bill Rice of BBC Radio Manchester:
ᗷIᒪᒪ ᖇIᑕᕮ 🎙📻 @billrice23
Solskjaer on four English teams in the quarter finals:
“It’s got to be a compliment, it tells a lot about the quality. It’s not like any of us have had easy teams to play against – Dortmund, Munich, PSG beaten – it’s a testament to the Premier League.”
The United boss also commented on Paul Scholes’ departure as Oldham Athletic manager after only one month in the role, per the Press Association’s Simon Peach:
Simon Peach @SimonPeach
Solskjaer on Scholes’ exit from Oldham: “Were you (surprised)? You’ve got to ask him (if he’ll go into management again). He’s invited here if he wants to come & have a little chat about it. I’ve texted with him of course. It didn’t work out as he wanted. That’s just management”
Wolves have lost once in their last 11 games and drew 1-1 at Old Trafford when these two teams clashed in their first league meeting in September. The West Midlands outfit also knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in the third round.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side sit seventh—though 13 points from Chelsea in sixth—and Solskjaer praised the club’s progress during their first season back among the top flight, commending Wolves on how they “take the game to the opponent” with their “great passing ability.”
United have made it to two of the past three FA Cup finals and will be hopeful of back-to-back appearances in 2019, though question marks remain over Lukaku’s involvement at Molineux.