Team news update for United v Southampton
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted he will name an unchanged side for a fifth consecutive Premier League match, against Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday.
During a press conference to preview Monday night’s outing at the Theatre of Dreams, Solskjaer was asked by one reporter about fielding the same starting XI and squad in recent matches.
“There's so many things you have to consider when you manage a team,” said Ole. “We've got players here champing at the bit, but also those that are in the rhythm.
Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are the only players who are presently unavailable for selection, due to injury, leaving Ole with a large group of sharp and hungry Reds to choose from.
It is an excellent position to be in as United pursue a place in the Premier League’s top four and qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League.
FOCUS ON THE OPPOSITION
Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes Jannik Vestergaard will recover from a thigh problem to return to the squad against United.
However, he does not expect injured trio Moussa Djenepo, Sofiane Boufal and Yan Valery to play again this season.
“With muscle injuries you can never be sure,” he said on Friday. “It’s too high risk, because we don’t have a long break until the next season, so they can’t take six weeks off to recover. It is good for us to keep an eye on them and don’t push them too hard to come back."
Hasenhuttl also feels a trip to Old Trafford is the type of challenge his side needs for their development. “They have at the moment an unbelievable run and this is exactly what we like the most because then we can see how good we are and we can go into this challenge and be competitive against such an opponent,” he told reporters ahead of the game.
“This is exactly the challenge we need. If we want to get better, we need challenges against such teams. We can learn a lot. I think against Manchester City we learned a lot about how good they are in possession and what they can do - we need these games. I once said that if you want to be a lion then you have to fight with lions, and I think this is exactly what we are looking for.”
Saints striker Danny Ings scored his 19th league goal of the season last time out and the Englishman is on the verge of becoming only Southampton's third player to reach the 20-goal mark in the Premier League, after club great Matt Le Tissier and James Beattie.
“I think it is not that big for him, I think it would be bigger for him if the team finishes in the top 10 or even higher if it is possible," says Hasenhuttl. “He is an absolute team player and all the things he does on the pitch are to make the team win.”