Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended himself and insisted Marcus Rashford’s back problem is a “new injury” after being heavily criticised by fans and the media.
The 22-year-old England forward will be sidelined for three months with a double stress fracture of his back, which has left Solskjaer’s forward options extremely light.
Rashford came on as a substitute and then went off injured during United’s 1-0 home win over Wolves in last week’s FA Cup third-round replay.
Ian Wright, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, believes “someone should be held accountable” for Rashford’s absence.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he knew Marcus Rashford was struggling and played him against Wolves – now he’s out for three months,” said Wright.
The Norwegian though, who ahead of the defeat to Liverpool, said the player had “aggravated his back” against Wolves, now says the issue is a fresh injury.
“He won’t be fit for this game that’s for sure he will be out for a while, he’ll get the time he needs to recover, we’re always looking at improving the squad and seeing if there’s anything out there but nothing I can talk about now,” said Solskjaer.
“He’s not had that injury before, no. He complained a little bit after Burnley, he felt it the first time, and we managed him as well as we could then, he had some days off for treatment, taken off in games and suddenly this was a new injury. He didn’t have any injuries before then.
“Marcus is good, he’s a positive guy and he knows this is not what he wanted but he’s always positive, he wants to get back as quickly and safely as possible and we’ll give him that time. When he feels ready and medically cleared he’ll be back.”
Asked if there might now be chances for youngsters D’Mani Mellor and Largie Ramazani, Solskjaer said: “It might be too early for them yet, of course Mason (Greenwood) is going to get more chances now, Juan (Mata) will have to step up again, there’ll be more chances for ones in the squad, we know we’re stretched for numbers but we’ll cope with that.”
Fans have also been heavily critical of the club’s handling of Rashford and, more generally, the club’s current plight.
Solskjaer added: “You can look back at history and of course we know we’re not where we want to be and should be and historically have been, just down to us now to work better. I’ve been here 13 months, my experience with the players we’ve brought in have been good so no complaints whatsoever.”