Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that Anthony Martial and Fred are just two of the players who will improve on their performances for Manchester United this season.
It was a nightmare campaign for United in 2018-19, as they could only finish sixth in the Premier League. However, pre-season has started on the right note, and Solskjaer is optimistic that several members of his squad can rediscover their best form.
One of those players is Anthony Martial, who Solskjaer insists can still become “world class”. The Norewgian boss explained ahead of United’s pre-season clash with Inter Milan: “Anthony can be a world class forward. I think if you followed Anthony the way he has come back to pre-season, his attitude is spot on.
“I think he has always got the quality and talent, so I expect him, and Marcus [Rashford], to be even better than last season. Anthony had a top season when he came, I expect we will see a better Anthony next season.”
Another player who will be expected to improve – unless he leaves for Real Madrid – is Paul Pogba, but Solskjaer tried to shift the focus away from individuals.
“I am looking to get everyone to get their form back to when we first came in. It is not just about Pogba, it is about all of us as a team.
“Everyone has been spot on in pre-season in training and the games. I have been very encouraged.”
In the meantime, the Norwegian will concentrate on the task of preparing his players for the third game of their pre-season campaign with the squad having been boosted by the arrivals of Matteo Darmian, Fred and Dean Henderson.
Brazilian midfielder Fred has returned after being married in Brazil, and Solskjaer is hopeful the club will get more from the man for whom they paid Shakhtar Donetsk £52million last summer when the new season gets underway.
He said: “You’re not surprised when a player from Brazil that’s played in Ukraine finds it a little bit hard in the beginning, but we know the talent is there.
“We have seen towards the end of the season what Fred can give us, the PSG game, the Arsenal, Man City, and of course he’s one that we hope is going to take another step this season.
“Hopefully missing 10 days of our pre-season won’t set him back too much. Fred has been back over in Brazil and had his wedding and got married, so he’s probably got loads of energy – and I’m sure he’s keen to join in.”
Also convinced that United’s fortunes will improve this year is midfielder Nemanja Matic, who admits he is ready to stand up and be counted.
“My position is very important to talk to the team-mates, especially as one of the senior players,” he explained. “I am trying. This pre-season we are training very well, looking to give something extra. This season we will play much better.
“Last season I had some problems injuries. I was not happy with my form, I am not happy. This season I have started with the team and we will see, I feel great.
“That was not a good season for all of us. Our target was to play Champions League but we didn’t make it. We have to do better, we have to do more. We have to fight for trophies, we expect to do better.”
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