Xenia Sports – London
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping Marcus Rashford can overcome a shoulder issue to feature at West Ham on Saturday.
The 23-year-old missed the first chunk of the year with a back injury and has impressed with his performances since football resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But Rashford is now dealing with a shoulder problem, which saw him pull out of England’s November internationals and come off in the second half of Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League defeat to Paris St Germain.
The United forward is a doubt for the Premier League clash against the Hammers but Solskjaer has not given up on him making the trip to the capital.
“Marcus has been training this morning, not fully but he’s joined in with the group,” the United boss said.
“Obviously his shoulder stopped him finishing the game, so he’s been getting treatment and hopefully he’ll be part of the squad that travels.
“He’s having treatment now after training.”
Luke Shaw is the only player ruled out on Saturday and Rashford’s availability would be welcome news for United at the London Stadium, which has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Red Devils in recent years.
West Ham could beat United for a third successive home league match for the first time since managing it four seasons on the trot in the mid-1970s, with their chances boosted by the return of 2,000 supporters.
“It’ll be great playing in front of fans, we’re looking forward to it,” Solskjaer said ahead of the Red Devils’ first game in front of a crowd since March.
“Of course we won’t have our fans there but we’ll just have to use the energy or thrive off the home fans and make them quiet hopefully, that we can make them edgy.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s great to see fans back in a stadium. Of course we want it back in Old Trafford as well and hopefully we’ll get that soon.
“Football is not the same, it’s not been the same, so great (to see some back).
“Of course we’re a bit bruised and disappointed after Wednesday night but hopefully we’ll be ready to go again tomorrow.”
United’s loss to PSG means Solskjaer will need to balance the need to keep players fit for Tuesday’s crunch Champions League clash at RB Leipzig along with the threat of the Hammers.
The Red Devils head to London on a club-record run of eight successive away league wins but former United boss David Moyes has things looking up at West Ham.
Asked if he has ever spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson’s immediate successor about the unique nature of being in the Old Trafford hotseat, he said: “I haven’t sat down and had discussions with David, no.
“Of course when you’re here it’s the biggest club in the world and a different animal to anything else.
“But we’ve had other discussions and I really admire David for what he’s done in his career and you just see now the way West Ham perform and the results he’s getting shows his qualities.
“Of course it would be (a boost to break into the top four this weekend) for all sorts of reasons.
“We know that we’ve got a game less of course but we get that back at some point.
“With the pre-season being as short as it was, to be able to move closer to the top would be a great achievement at this point but it’s a long season.
“Of course we’ve shown some great consistency away from home lately, great results, and hopefully we can continue that.”
As well as United’s immediate focus, Solskjaer spoke about the future at Friday’s press conference.
Uruguayan teenager Facundo Pellistri arrived at Old Trafford from Penarol in September and fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo is due to join from Atalanta in the summer.
“Facundo has come in, trained with the first team, done well,” Solskjaer added.
“We felt now is time for him to get game time and he’s played a couple of games in the reserves.
“He’s gradually settling in nicely and he’s getting more and more used to us.
“Amad has come on a few times for Atalanta lately. He’s a very exciting young boy and talent as well.
“Hopefully we’ll get the work permit and he’ll be with us in January. Very, very exciting boy as well.”