Soccer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identifies ‘X factor’ Man Utd have missed this season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified the “X factor” that has been missing from Manchester United's performances so far this season.

The Red Devils sit 14th in the Premier League table, having just three of their first seven games.

Their draw and all three of their losses have come at Old Trafford, with the 3-1 win over Everton being seen as a job-saving game for the manager.

It came after a loss to Arsenal as well as their unbeaten cup run ending 2-1 to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.

And the United boss has now suggested that a factor missing from games throughout the country is the reason for poor form.

Speaking ahead of United’s clash against West Brom, Solskjaer said: “We’ve had four home games in the league. The first one we didn’t have any preparation and Palace deserved it.

“Then Anthony Martial did not deserve to be sent off against Tottenham but, after he was, they deserved the win.

“Then both the Chelsea and Arsenal games were very tight and if we had our fans might they might have sparked that little extra X Factor we needed.

“It's a different sensation playing in front of the Stretford End without fans, they usually score a goal for us.

“It's something we want to correct and hopefully we’ll get our first win against West Brom.”

One player Solskjaer will be able to look to is Mason Greenwood, who has returned after a spell of illness.

“You have to take a step back sometimes,” he said.

“The boy's only 19, he's had a fantastic year, but if we go a year back I left him out of the Carabao Cup game against Chelsea.

“Mason stayed behind and played against Doncaster in the Checkatrade Trophy for game-time, so that's how far he's come.

“He's got 19 goals in total, made his England debut, scored in his first Under-21s game and the headlines are going to be about when he scores and why he doesn't play.

“Everyone's allowed to not be well. He's been away eight or nine days from training, but I have no doubts about him. He has a very good head on him and the talent is there for all to see.”

But Solskjaer is facing alarm bells over Edinson Cavani’s availability after amid news of a Covid-19 outbreak in the Uruguay squad.

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