Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered an indication to his team selection for Manchester United’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Norwich City on Saturday (17:30 BST). The game will be at 12:30 pm ET in the US. The Reds head into the match fresh from a comprehensive 3-0 Premier League triumph against Sheffield United, and now switch focus to the cup, where we are just one win away from a semi-final at Wembley.
The boss has decisions to make, with the games coming thick and fast since the season’s resumption. United travel to Brighton for a fourth game in 12 days on Tuesday, and the final minutes of Wednesday’s game against Sheffield United saw him take off five players, in a bid to retain as much freshness within the squad as possible.
In his exclusive pre-match interview with us, the Norwegian told us there were no new injury concerns, while one player, Jesse Lingard, has recovered from a short illness.
“Are there any new injuries? No. I think we came through unscathed,”said Solskjaer. “It’s still Axel and Phil, they’re out. They are the only two absentees.”
However, the boss admitted there were likely to be a few changes to his starting line-up. Solskjaer kept his selection reasonably similar for the first two games that followed the restart, against Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United.
There were just three changes between the matches, with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood replacing Scott McTominay, Fred and Daniel James, respectively. But the prospect of Brighton following so quickly after the game at Carrow Road means changes are inevitable.
“It’s the situation we’re in, and circumstances,” explained the 47-year-old.
“Of course we’re playing so many games in a short space of time, and it’s great seeing the players being in good form. I know that we’ve got so many others wanting to play as well, so there will have to be a few changes, because there’s a game again on Tuesday and then Saturday.
“That’s the pleasure of being a manager: when to give players a chance and when to give players a rest. Because we are still early on in this restart period, and it’s going to be a long period.
Hopefully it’ll end on 21 August [the day of the Europa League final], so we’re going to have many games ahead of us. But we’re solely focused on this one now. The FA Cup is a great tournament, and we’ve started the preparations.”
NEWS FROM THE NORWICH CAMP
Canaries boss Daniel Farke confirmed before Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton that defenders Grant Hanley, Sam Byram and Christoph Zimmermann would play no further part in the season due to injuries. The loss left Norwich six points adrift from safety at the foot of the Premier League. However, there was more positive news with the return of attacking midfielder Marco Stiepermann, who had missed several games after testing positive for COVID-19.
The German was available once again for the meeting with the Toffees, though he remained an unused substitute. Farke started key players Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Tom Trybull on the bench for the match – which was decided by a goal from former United defender Michael Keane – which suggests he may already have had one eye on the starting line-up for the cup tie with United.