Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned left-back Luke Shaw about the job he faces having to defend returning Club Brugge winger Krepin Diatta on Thursday.
United head into the second leg of their Europa League last 32 tie in a decent position, having secured an away goal in the 1-1 draw in Belgium last week.
Brugge’s squad for Thursday’s clash at Old Trafford will look markedly different to the one from last week, however, with captain Ruud Vormer and striker Emmanuel Dennis – who got his side’s goal – both out injured.
One player expected to come back in, though, is Diatta, who has missed his side’s last two games and the 21-year-old Senegal international has impressed with seven goals and four assists in all competitions so far this term.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of the clash at Old Trafford, Solskjaer insisted that Shaw could be in for a hard time against Diatta if he returns to the squad, even comparing the winger to Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
“We need to play against 11 players, so it might change,” Solskjaer said. “If Vormer and Dennis are injured it does something to them.
“I know Diatta is back in, he is the most exciting player. He is fit I understand and he might be a handful for Luke.
“He tries things, he has got the x-factor, fantastic pace and balance. He is similar to Sadio Mane.”
Elsewhere, Solskjaer was also asked if his side are beginning to cope with their intense amount of game time, having overcome difficult periods of the season in December and January.
“The squad has coped really well with that amount of games, I’ve said that character and personality of them is improving and December and January were really hard hard months,” the manager said.
“Now we’re getting players back and we’re looking sharp.
“Luke had two months out and now he’s come back well and done well in a different position. He runs forward more as a left back than a left wing back!”
United follow up their Europa League clash with a Premier League clash against Everton on Sunday, with Solskjaer insisting that winning the Europa League is not necessarily the best way for his fifth-placed side to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“I think we need to take one game at a time. In cup competition, you never know. A bad day can happen,” he said.
“We take on game at a time and take as many as we can in the league.”