London (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed “special” teenage striker Mason Greenwood as the Manchester United boss juggles his resources to meet the demands of four games in just eight days.
Greenwood, 19, overtook Wayne Rooney as United’s top-scoring teenager in Premier League history in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
That match followed Thursday’s second leg of the Europa League semi-final at Roma and comes ahead of games this week against Leicester and Liverpool, both of whom have aspirations to finish in the top four.
Victory for United in both matches would cut Manchester City’s lead at the top of the table to just four points but realistically would only delay the Etihad title party.
Solskjaer substituted Greenwood with 25 minutes remaining of the Villa game to keep the England forward as fresh as possible.
“Yeah, he’s tired, his body is not really filled out yet and he might not be ready for all of these games but he’s got something special,” said the United boss, whose side are now guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League.
“The kid just turns the game around in one split second and the goal was excellent, so delighted that he’s got back to his goalscoring best and he’s learning more and more all the other bits as well.”
Solskjaer last week said he was planning sweeping changes during United’s tough run, adding that the knock-on effects in the Premier League top-four race was “everyone else’s problem”.
Last week’s clash with Liverpool was called off after fans invaded the pitch at Old Trafford during protests against the Glazers, United’s American owners, following the collapse of the European Super League.
Solskjaer, who is waiting to learn the extent of Harry Maguire’s ankle injury, said with the title race still alive he would like to go “full out in all the games” but admitted it was impossible.
“Talking about integrity in the league and stuff, don’t blame me when I have to make changes because I have to,” he said.
“It’s not safe for them to play all four so I have got to prioritise.”
Solskjaer has several potential youthful replacements including Amad Diallo, Shola Shoretire and Anthony Elanga.
“They’re in contention, yeah, definitely,” he said. “They’re in the first-team squad, they’re training with us every day, so I would think that some of the young boys will get an appearance, definitely.”
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