Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for a “reaction” from Manchester United as the 12-time FA Cup winners bid to clear a daunting first hurdle in this season’s competition.
The 2-0 loss at Arsenal on New Year’s Day was a rough start to the decade for United and facing Wolves in the cup means life gets no easier.
Wolves sank United in the quarter-finals at Molineux last season and Solskjaer is conscious he has yet to bring back a victory from three visits to Wolverhampton since taking charge at United in December 2018.
“It’s the fourth time in my time there already at Molineux and we haven’t won yet, but it is a tough place,” said the Norwegian.
“Liverpool lost there last season, [Manchester] City just lost there now, so we’ve got to earn the right to win there.
“We’ve got to play well, we’ve got to perform and we’ve got to go there positive, because we want a reaction after a defeat against Arsenal, which everyone says was such a bad, bad performance.”
Solskjaer has his own thoughts about the performance at Arsenal, which are not as negative as those expressed elsewhere, but an improvement will be required if United are to march through to the fourth round on Saturday.
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— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 2, 2020
Sergio Romero will take over the goalkeeping duties from David de Gea, whose form has been shaky of late. The Spain international has not been dropped, though, with Solskjaer having made a habit of selecting Romero for cup matches.
And Mason Greenwood may be in line for another start, with the teenage striker making a huge impression in his breakout season.
“He’s grown a lot. He’s physically and mentally more robust, which, of course, you expect from an 18-year-old,” Solskjaer said, quoted on United’s website.
“He has had more or less 12 months with us now and he’s grown fantastically.
“His confidence and performances in the top games, even in the Premier League, he’s done well. He’s played a lot of the cup games and he’s done well.
“So, we’ll just keep continuing to give him more and more until he is a regular, because that will happen.”
Solskjaer will face a sharp tactical mind in Nuno Espirito Santo, the Wolves boss who led his team out of the Championship and has established the club as a top-flight force.
Losing out to Watford in the FA Cup semi-finals last season was a bitter blow for Wolves, who led 2-0 at Wembley but slid to a 3-2 defeat.
Yet Solskjaer sees only quality and a coherent strategy when he looks at this weekend’s opponents.
He said: “They have quality: good players, a good manager, who has had time and he’s got his way of playing, his philosophy.
“The players are getting to know each other. You can see that they have swapped between 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and they seem to know every little detail there is in those two systems.
“They know each other, relationships, like swapping positions, rotations, which is a great place to be in when you get that consistency that he has had. So, we know we’re up for a hard night at Molineux.”
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