Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s strong message to Anthony Martial ahead of Southampton

Manchester United v Southampton: Match preview

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to be more confident ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Southampton. The Red Devils go into the game with the duo misfiring at present. But they’ll be looking for a return to winning ways having picked up just a point from their last two matches.

Martial scored 23 goals for United last term, helping the club finish third in the Premier League table.

And Greenwood, who was unleashed on defences following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, chipped in with 17 across all competitions.

Both players have struggled this term, however.

Martial has found the net just twice from 17 Premier League matches, while teenager Greenwood has managed just one goal from 15 outings.

And, ahead of the match against Southampton, Solskjaer has adopted a strong stance by urging them to be more confident with the ball.

“Hard work, clever work, a little bit of brightness, of course,” he said when asked what they could do to end their recent rut.

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“Free yourself up, be adventurous, take a risk.

“You’re at Man United, you’re playing at Old Trafford, you’re playing with the best kit in the world, the best shirt in the world, the badge is on your chest.

“That should give you confidence, that should give you creativity and the freedom to think: ‘I’m here, I’m a good player’.

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“We’ve defended well, we’re conceding less and less goals. When the referee’s delegate report came in from the Sheffield United game, it was hard work to read when they admit their goal should have been disallowed and our goal should have been given.

“So that is a big swing and a big turnaround in momentum for us.

“We felt that on the day, but it just confirmed what we felt, that we had a couple of decisions go against us which cost us three points. It’s hard.

“Where was I? The attacking bit… we’re creating big chances. Just be loose, drop your shoulder, take a deep breath for us and put it in the net.”

Solskjaer also hailed the club’s staff for all the hard work they’ve been putting in behind the scenes.

The 47-year-old said: “The staff are brilliant.

“The medical staff, the sports science staff, and the boys look after themselves, of course.

“But I think the players have learned, they are physically more robust. We have upped the training last season and during pre-season and the lockdown.

“Mentally, as well, we’re more prepared for a quick turnaround and, of course, we have a deep and a strong squad; full of quality with the attitude, the character to always want to play.

“So a little niggle won’t stop anyone. Sometimes, the rotation has helped us get through without injuries.”

United have been playing every three days recently.

But, rather than moan about the fixture schedule, Solskjaer has admitted he’s loving having so much at stake.

“It is, as you said, a quick turnaround,” he said.

“Today is Monday, we play tomorrow night, so today they’re still recovering from the game on Saturday, but they still have to prepare and be on the way up again for tomorrow night.

“Today was more of a light training day, we don’t do a lot with the ones that played.

“Of course, you’ve got the ones who didn’t play that want to play and look really sharp.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hard to get up mentally. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to get going, but I’ve been very happy with the reaction and the way they have prepared for games.”

United beat Southampton 3-2 in their Premier League showdown at St Mary’s earlier in the season.

Edinson Cavani was the hero of the hour for Solskjaer’s side, scoring twice after coming off the bench to secure all three points.

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