Man Utd players’ mood in training under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks volumes

A number of United players have been preparing for their upcoming Premier League match against Watford after staying home during the international break

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reviews Manchester City defeat

After a challenging October and November so far, Manchester United know they need results and they need them fast.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players returned to the training ground this week after a few days off, with those free of international duties starting their preparations for Saturday’s trip to Watford while waiting for others to return.

Recent defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City have dented United’s top-four hopes, ensuring they will remain adrift of their rivals regardless of this weekend’s results.

However, as under-pressure manager Solskjaer welcomed his squad back to training, we were given a glimpse of a squad in fine spirits and ready to attack the task ahead of them with a huge week of football on the horizon.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer welcomed back a number of his Man Utd players to training


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Jadon Sancho was one of the higher-profile players not involved for their country, with the England winger sitting out the games against Albania and San Marino.

Sancho’s omission from Gareth Southgate’s squad came after a challenging start to life at Old Trafford, where he has struggled for minutes under Solskjaer.

The former Borussia Dortmund man was active in training, though, as he pushes for a United recall.

With a number of first-teamers yet to return from their World Cup qualifying duties, there was an opportunity for academy talents to show the regulars – and the manager – what they’re all about.

Spanish defender Alvaro Fernandez joined United’s academy from Real Madrid’s ranks in 2020, and has been in impressive form for the under-23 side this season with two goals and two assists in Premier League 2.

Alvaro Fernandez had his chance to train with the first team


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Other youngsters to feature included Hannibal and Charlie McNeil, both of whom have been involved in the EFL Trophy for United’s under-21 side this term as well as featuring in Premier League 2.

Midfielder Hannibal and forward McNeil were spotted getting stuck in against Aaron Wan-Bissaka, another of the senior players who returned to training this week after not being called up by England for their qualifiers.

Hannibal and McNeil joined the senior pros


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Marcus Rashford pulled out of the England squad through illness, having only recently returned to first team action after undergoing surgery.

The forward has been working on returning to full fitness, and could be seen in conversation with Solskjaer during Tuesday’s session.

Whether he recovers in time to start at Vicarage Road remains to be seen, but the sight of him on the training ground will be a welcome one.

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The 24-year-old was also spotted in good spirits when pictured alongside long-time colleague Jesse Lingard.

Lingard is another who was left out of the most recent England squad, with his last start in any capacity coming for his country back in October.

With results as important as they have ever been, Lingard may be one pushing for more involvement in the weeks ahead.

Rashford and Lingard have both been used sparingly for different reasons


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There was also a small-sided session during the training session, with Rashford and Sancho among those on the winning side.

Another member of the victorious team was Amad, which will come as a boost for the Ivorian winger as he moves closer to a first-team return.

The 19-year-old missed the start of the season through injury, only returning to Premier League 2 action in late October, and looked in good spirits as he aims for a first Premier League appearance since May.

Amad, Dean Henderson, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jadon Sancho won the 5-a-side session


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Victory against Watford on Saturday could leave Manchester United as few as three points outside the top four if other results go their way.

Defeat, however, could see them drop further towards mid-table and increase the pressure on their manager.

United follow Saturday’s game with a midweek trip to Villarreal, before another away game against Premier League leaders Chelsea the following weekend.

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