Solskjaer hails Diallo Man Utd debut but 17-year-old ‘top striker’ rips Reds

Date published: Saturday 30th January 2021 8:43 - Neil Foster

Amad Diallo

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with Amad Diallo’s Manchester United debut although Joe Hugill stole the show with four goals.

Diallo’s move from Italian club Atalanta was completed this month after the switch was agreed last October. He ran out in a United shirt for the first time on Saturday.

The Ivorian scored twice as the Under-23s beat their Liverpool counterparts 6-3. The 18-year-old opened the scoring and added another, with Hugill slamming four home in between.

Diallo’s and the Red Devils’ final goal was from the penalty spot. Solskjaer was delighted with both goalscorers and questioned why 17-year-old Hugill had not tried his luck from 12 yards.

“Four goals by Hugill, he’s a top striker as well, we’re looking forward to seeing his development,” he told MUTV. “Amad gets a good start and why Joe didn’t take the penalty himself to get five goals I’m going to ask him.”

Neil Wood’s Under-23s were comprehensive winners and ended a two-match losing streak. They lost 6-1 to Chelsea and 4-2 to Leicester City before downing their Merseyside rivals.

Solskjaer watched the match before seeing his senior side draw 0-0 with Arsenal at the Emirates. After the game, Diallo shared a picture of him celebrating one of his goals with the caption: “Did you enjoy the show?”

There is much excitement surrounding Diallo and what he might bring to Old Trafford. Ahead of Saturday’s encounter, the Norwegian tactician said: “He’s been training really well and settling in.

“He’s ready to get some game-time and match exposure.”

Martial one to look up to

If Diallo and Hugill need a role model then they can do worse than follow Anthony Martial’s example. Solskjaer revealed this week that the France striker’s fitness levels are up considerably from his time under Jose Mourinho.

Whether that was a thinly-veiled barb at his predecessor is not known but it is good news for United. Martial has scored just two Premier League goals in 2020-2021.

He and Axel Tuanzebe were both racially abused online after Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Sheffield United.

Martial had a goal harshly ruled out in the first half against the Blades. And Solskjaer is confident the 25-year-old will soon find his scoring boots.

“Keep working, keep working,” he said. “He’s improved his fitness, he’s probably improved by 10-15% from when I came – his running distance, his sprint distance. Keep using that.

“Like everyone, we’ve improved and his talent will always take him through. I’ve got no doubt about that whatsoever.

“Yes, he’s missed a couple of chances and that happens to everyone. It’s just being ready when the chance, for example, tomorrow comes. Just be mentally ready.”


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