Manchester United’s AON Training Complex resembled a winter wonderland as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s got down to work on Monday ahead of a crucial week of festive fixtures.
United host Wolves on Tuesday night before Aston Villa visit Old Trafford on New Year’s Day, with Solskjaer’s men aiming to stay in touch with league leaders Liverpool.
United find themselves five points behind the defending champions with a game in hand, and they didn’t let the plummeting temperature in the north west get in the way of their preparations.
Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford were among those wrapping up warm as United prepared for what could prove a make-or-break week in their season.
Edinson Cavani could return to the starting line-up for what will be United’s seventh encounter with Wolves in less than two years under Solskjaer.
There are two games left before the Uruguay star has to respond to an FA charge of misconduct over a social media post, with a ban of at least three games hanging over him.
Cavani came off the bench at Leicester on Saturday to set up United’s second goal in a 2-2 draw, and has made nine of his 13 appearances as a substitute.
They include scoring contributions at Southampton and Everton last month, but Solskjaer dismissed suggestions he sees the 33-year-old as an impact player.
‘He is definitely a starter,’ he said. ‘You don’t classify a player of that quality as anything else. We have plenty of starters, more than 11. That is the thing when you are at Man United.
‘I trust him. He will probably start more games than he will not start.’
Solskjaer also spoke glowingly about captain Harry Maguire as he prepares for his final game of an eventful 2020.
The United captain was arrested in Mykonos on a family holiday in August, and suffered a torrid start to the season as he was sent off for England against Denmark in October.
‘I will always support Harry and I think Gareth will as well,’ said the United manager. ‘He just wants to keep playing football.
‘He is such a good human being. He is in there leading the dressing room. He is very humble and hard-working. He knows when he has to hold his hands up and he has led from the front.
‘Harry is a strong character and a very good player. He always wants to play and he never wants a rest. He has really improved throughout the season. We can see more maturity and leadership from Harry every game.’
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