Fired-up Solskjaer ‘can’t wait’ to sink his teeth into Leeds grudge match

Date published: Friday 18th December 2020 7:00 - Isaac Johnson

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Rio Ferdinand Diego Forlan

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot wait to renew hostilities with Leeds this weekend as the old foes finally face one another again in the Premier League.

A lot has changed since the rivals’ last top-flight meeting in February 2004, with only two cup meetings taking place during a period in which the Yorkshire side’s struggles even saw them drop to the third tier.

Solskjaer came off the bench in their last Premier League meeting and loved the regular clashes with Leeds, where his brace in a 4-3 win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in 2002 was a particular highlight.

“I can’t wait,” the former United striker said ahead of the Sunday’s first competitive meeting in nine years.

“It’s been too long, of course. I know how much it means for our supporters, I know how much it means for our club.

“It’s a different type of Leeds coming up with a coach that’s really done a great job with them and will test us to the limit.

 

“There were fiery games, tackles flying in, players from both teams who were winners.

“We had a few fights, of course. Elland Road wasn’t the quietest place when we came off the coach walking into the stadium and in the stadium, put it that way.”

Asked if he had a particularly fond memory of facing Leeds as a player, he said with a smile: “Yeah, many. I enjoyed scoring two goals in a win at Elland Road.

“I enjoyed a header back stick, I came on as a sub, it was a cross from Giggsy (Ryan Giggs), and headed back to the other side (to secure a 1-1 draw in 2001).

“They were two good teams back in the day, I have to say.

“I liked the build-up to the games and the quality they had of course tested us as a team as well, so loads of good memories.”


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 Cavani may miss Leeds clash

Edinson Cavani Man Utd

Meanwhile, Solskjaer said that summer signing Edinson Cavani could miss the game.

The 33-year-old is due a late fitness test after missing the last few matches with a groin problem.

“He’s very meticulous on his rehab work and he’s not felt right,” Solskjaer said. “He couldn’t play this game so let’s see how he feels in the last training session. It was a muscle injury that he felt in his groin.”

Meanwhile, defenders Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe should both be available for selection.

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