Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken out over the fitness of star defender Harry Maguire, ahead of the fast-approaching Europa League final.
English international Maguire has of course been forced to sit out the Red Devils’ last two outings.
Amid a hectic end of season schedule for Solskjaer and co., United made the trip to Villa Park last weekend, for a Premier League clash.
The Manchester giants eventually emerged on the right side of a 3-1 scoreline, but saw their most recent 3-point haul come at a cost.
A little over ten minutes from time, Edinson Cavani felled Anwar El Ghazi deep in the visitors’ half.
The Villa star, in turn, was sent tumbling, and landed awkwardly on the planted leg of United captain Harry Maguire.
The English international could immediately be seen to be in considerable pain, with Maguire, despite repeated efforts to continue, having eventually been forced to hobble off.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, speaking in the game’s aftermath, confirmed that his defensive stalwart had picked up an ankle injury, with a spell of ‘a few weeks’ on the sidelines touted.
In turn, Maguire has since watched on from the stands as his side fell to successive defeats at the hands of Leicester City and Liverpool.
An injured Harry Maguire takes his seat ahead of Manchester United VS Liverpool pic.twitter.com/9Jvvr2l7ig
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 13, 2021
A pair of losses in the space of three days, meanwhile, went some way towards convincing even Maguire’s biggest detractors of his importance to Manchester United’s backline, with the Reds having looked nothing short of a mess in his absence.
In turn, it goes without saying that all associated with the club will be desperate for the former Leicester man to return in time for the Europa League final.
United are set to face off with Villarreal in the competition showpiece on Wednesday the 26th of May.
And one individual who certainly appears confident that Maguire will indeed recover in time to feature in Gdansk is Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Speaking in a press conference on Sunday, the Norwegian was asked for the latest on his defensive star, with Solskjaer having assured that both he and Maguire remain ‘positive’ regarding the situation:
‘Hopefully we can have good news early, but I will give him as long as it takes because he has shown his importance. We’ve known it all along but maybe some people open their eyes more when he’s not playing.’
‘I certainly felt I became a very good player when I was injured. People suddenly realised what I could do as a sub or what I was as a player.’
‘Harry has been our leader, and our captain ever since he came in he’s been more or less ever present so of course he’s a big miss at the moment but, hopefully he’ll speed up the recovery and be ready for the final. I’ll give him as long as he needs until he says yes or no.’
‘He’s making progress, but we’ve consciously taken the route of not testing him out too early, too quickly, because we don’t want to aggravate something.’
‘Harry is very – how do you say? – he wants this so much, so he doesn’t want to take any risks either. When I spoke to him this morning, he was quite positive, which is good.’
‘Naturally, the day after it happened we were all down, but we saw early on or decided we have to focus, have to be positive and think that you’re going to make it until you have to say ‘no’. I’ve always been an optimist, so we’re positive.’
Solskjaer ‘positive’ Maguire will make Europa League final as he makes progress with his recovery. But, #MUFC manager admits he faces difficult selection dilemmas, especially when it comes to who plays in goal. https://t.co/rx0JwkPffz
— Charlotte Duncker (@CharDuncker) May 16, 2021
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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