Edinson Cavani is showing Manchester United’s younger players how to successfully prolong their careers, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 33-year-old joined United on a free transfer on deadline day in October, having left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
Cavani has scored three Premier League goals for United after coming off the bench, claiming two in last weekend’s dramatic 3-2 win at Southampton.
The striker, who also set up Bruno Fernandes to score at St Mary’s Stadium, is averaging a goal involvement every 32 minutes in the top flight and his cameo last week helped United to a club-record eighth away league win in a row.
He was also the oldest player to make his debut for United (at 33 years, 253 days) since Zlatan Ibrahimovic (34 years, 316 days) in 2016.
Alongside other recent acquisitions like Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles, Solskjaer believes Cavani can be the perfect role model for the United players near the start of their careers.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 4, 2020
“Last season we were the youngest team in the Premier League and have been looking at ways to improve the squad,” he said ahead of United’s Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday.
“With the signings of Bruno, Donny, Alex and Edinson, the balance of the squad has been improved.
“[Cavani] is a different type of centre-forward. He can play a different way and with his experience in world football, he’s come in and shown the young lads how to live your life and make your career last.”
Since Fernandes’ Premier League debut for United on February 1, the Red Devils have earned more Premier League points per game than any other side (2.09).
The 48 points they have amassed in their 23 league games since his arrival is 17 more than they earned in the same number of games before his debut (31).
Despite this, Solskajer’s side are often accused of being inconsistent, with a recent four-game winning streak bookended by defeats to Arsenal in the league, and Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain in Europe.
The Norwegian rejects those claims, though, believing his team do not always get the results their positive displays deserve.
“It depends on how many games you want to go back,” he responded when asked if United were too inconsistent.
“We’ve played some fantastic games and if you go 40 games back we’re one of the most consistent teams in the Premier League.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 3, 2020
“You’re disappointed when you lose and it’s fine margins at times that decide if you win or lose. The PSG game was miles better than West Brom [United won 1-0], but you don’t get three points against PSG.
“We’re getting less bad performances and getting more consistent. You can never control the result in the end; that’s decided by fine margins.”
Marcus Rashford was substituted after 74 minutes of United’s 3-1 Champions League defeat to PSG in midweek with a shoulder injury, but Solskjaer remains hopeful he will be in the squad for the trip to London.
“Marcus has been training this morning, not fully but he joined in with the group,” he said.
“His shoulder stopped him finishing the game so he’s been getting treatment and hopefully he’ll be part of the squad that travels. We’ll see after training.”
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