Marcos Rojo and James Garner.

Solskjaer heaps praise on Rojo after Partizan win

Friday 08 November 2019 05:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has heaped praise on Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo and explained why he was so keen to retain the tough-tackling Argentina international.

Rojo made his eighth appearance of the season on Thursday evening and helped keep a clean sheet as the Reds beat Partizan Belgrade 3-0 at Old Trafford. 

Following the high-profile capture of Maguire from Leicester City, the return of Axel Tuanzebe from loan and the signing of Victor Lindelof's new long-term contract, it was rumoured in the summer that centre-back Rojo could be leaving United. 

Yet Marcos remained at Old Trafford and has impressed Solskjaer with his professionalism, hard work and accomplished performances for the team.

“I thought he was excellent tonight,” said Ole in his post-match press conference. “He’s been excellent since he started in pre-season. He’s played more than he, maybe, expected. That’s why he’s still here and he’s a top-quality footballer.

“He’s a winner, with a good mentality, he can pass and he can defend. It’s now about keeping him fit and he’s been fit for a long time. You can see his qualities.”

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While the 29-year-old is best known for his aggressive style of defending, he finished Thursday's match with a pass-completion rate of 91 per cent and displayed an admirable amount of composure. 

Solskjaer was delighted by the South American's performance in defence. “He’s got such a big heart and such a passion for football,” said Ole.

“He’s a winner. To have him around when he’s fit and in a good mood, it’s been great for us. 

“The boys love him and he sometimes spreads fear in training because he tackles properly. He’s one of the ones who really cares about the game.”

Rojo hopes to make his ninth appearance of the campaign on Sunday when United host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford in the Premier League. 

That prospect could appears quite likely with Lindelof and Tuanzebe currently nursing injuries, with Maguire also a slight doubt after picking up a knock against Partizan. Furthermore, left-back Ashley Young is suspended. 

Eric Bailly is still out with his long-term injury, although the Ivory Coast international is getting closer to a comeback and is expected to start training again in the next month. 

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