Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drops Anthony Martial return hint after Aston Villa win

Man Utd: Solskjaer comments on Martial's form

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he’s hopeful of getting Anthony Martial fit in time for the Europa League final. The France international has been sidelined with a knee injury since March. But the Red Devils are optimistic he’ll be fit again before the end of the season, with Solskjaer giving an update after his side’s win over Aston Villa.

Manchester United were too strong for Villa on Sunday.

They fell behind in the first half, with Bertrand Traore opening the scoring with a fine strike that sailed past Dean Henderson.

But, after the interval, United turned things around.

Bruno Fernandes drew the club level from the penalty spot, with Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani then scoring to give them all three points.

And, speaking after the game, Solskjaer admitted he was hopeful Martial would be fit in time for the Europa League final clash with Villarreal.

“Sometimes the player you leave out can come onto the pitch and win you a final,” he said.

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“That’s no problem; I’d rather have that than have not enough.

“From personal experience, it is hard to not play in finals. But when you come on, you do your bit.

“I think Mason has done it so many times for us, and Edinson has done it so many times. Marcus has done it so many times – he came on against Leipzig and scored three. Hopefully we will get Anthony fit as well.”

Solskjaer has promised to rotate for Tuesday’s clash with Leicester, especially with Liverpool lying in wait two days later.

“I think everyone is capable of doing a Thursday to Sunday,” said the 48-year-old.

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“But to put in Tuesday is more or less demanding too much of them. Adding Thursday is impossible – absolutely physically impossible.

“So I have to now make sure that I don’t run the risk of getting injuries. So recovery time, more or less all the time you have, two days in between and play on the third day.

“At this level, it is impossible. The boys who played Thursday night and today will not play 90 minutes on Tuesday, for sure.

“There’s no training. It’s [in the] classroom. Now you’re a teacher. It’s the sports scientists – they do their job, they have all the facilities and have the help that the players can get.

“We will sit down on Tuesday afternoon and see who is ready. I can have a picture in my mind now theoretically, but it might be that things could crop up tomorrow after this game that we don’t know until tomorrow.”

Solskjaer also confirmed United were a happy camp after the win against Villa, with Champions League football for next season now secured.

“Brilliant. Very good,” he said.

“We’ve got a final to look forward to. The boys are learning and getting better and better as a group, as a unit, and the spirit in the group is getting better.

“You can hear them in the crowd, supporting their team-mates. These eight days, we knew the squad had to come together and everyone has got to be available to play, they have to play, and they’ve been excellent.”

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith, meanwhile, raged over ‘pathetic’ refereeing decisions after the defeat.

He said: “I don’t think anybody knows, everybody is confused how Raheem Sterling can go through and have four or five touches on him last night and not get a penalty, then one touch here and it is a penalty — it looked a pathetic decision to me, but he goes down, similar to Old Trafford and last season here.

“Ollie Watkins has got sent off for a second yellow, there is no way the referee can tell me he is convinced he hasn’t been touched.

“I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials and more importantly at Stockley Park.

“It looks like now he has to get hurt to win the penalty — is it enough contact for a penalty, no.”

And he then added: “The first five minutes we didn’t start very well but then played really well in the first half, high-pressed them and got a deserved goal.

“The penalty decision affected us more than it did them.”

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