Soccer

Man Utd boss Solskjaer drops Edinson Cavani transfer hint with Mason Greenwood praise

Man Utd v Brighton: Match in pictures

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dropped a fresh hint he wants Edinson Cavani to stay at the club for another year despite their pursuit of Erling Haaland, following a 2-1 win over Brighton on Sunday night.

The Uruguayan veteran, who has seven goals this season, struggled against the Seagulls and was withdrawn late on for Donny van de Beek after an ineffective return to the starting line-up.

But United came from a goal behind through second-half Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood strikes that help consolidate their position in second in the Premier League.

Now 11 points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham with eight games to play, United’s qualification for next season’s Champions League is almost mathematically certain.

Greenwood, 19, scored just his second Premier League goal of the season to clinch the full three points for the Red Devils late on.

Hailing the academy graduate, who has only six goals in 40 games this term after scoring 19 times in 51 matches last season, Solskjaer suggested he’d like to keep Cavani – who is out of contract and has been linked with a move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors – another 12 months.

The 34-year-old has provne a valuable member of the United squad this season since joining on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, and the Norwegian coach believes Cavani gives Greenwood plenty to learn from.

United also want to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Haaland but with the Norwegian having been slapped with a price tag of at least £127million, Solskjaer clearly sees the value in trying to extend Cavani’s time in Manchester.

Solskjaer told BT Sport after beating Brighton: “I thought we started well but when they scored, after that we couldn’t find our rhythm again.

“We needed half-time to compose ourselves and go again. Second half we played some good stuff.

“It was nothing more tactical from what we wanted in the first half; more runs in behind, more movement, better movement.

“Sometimes after international breaks it takes time and then maybe the fireworks have to be lit at half-time.

“Very good second half. The first goal, good play by Bruno [Fernandes], great finish by Marcus. The second goal overall was a very, very good goal.

“Mason’s learning from Edi. It’s important when Edinson is here now. He’s not going to play football forever but the trait of that movement, Mason’s probably picked up a little bit.

“Mason needs to add those goals to his tally. We know how wonderful a talent he is. He played really well tonight and when he can add those goals, we know he’ll really be a goodun.”

He added of Cavani: “Sometimes as a centre-forward it doesn’t work your way, you’ve got to be patient, be in the box. They defended well with a 5-4-1.

“Five at the back is always hard to break down but we managed in the end.”

“It doesn’t really matter what anyone else does as long as we win and we get our points. We’re in second place. It’s a long way up but we want to consolidate second.”

Rashford played after being withdrawn from the England squad over the international break, having missed United’s last three games, but succumbed to a fresh problem in the second half and grimaced as he left the pitch.

And Solskjaer continued: “It’s one of them, your fingers are crossed and you hope he’s going to recover from it. He had to come off but he’s a tough one.”

Match-winner Greenwood meanwhile told BT Sport: “It was a hard night. When they scored the first goal we knew we had to react and put in a better performance.

“Everyone was excellent in the second half. Ole said his bit at half-time and so did Harry as captain.

“I don’t think we started very well but we knew we had to switch on and be focused. We should have started that from the moment we came out, but it’s a good three points.

“There was a lot of men behind the ball and we had to have that creative spark.”

Greenwood continued: “It’s a confidence booster, I’ve not scored as many in the Premier League. I scored a header tonight which is something I’ve been working on a lot behind the scenes.”

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