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22-Sep-2020, 03:09 pm

Henderson, Bailly, Pereira and Co. must step up for Man Utd in absence of new signings

Eric Bailly Dean Henderson Andreas Pereira Manchester United GFX

As starts to the season go,it couldn’t have gone much worse for Manchester United, beaten at home by Crystal Palace in a poor performance.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to ring the changes for United’s second game of the seasonafter such a sloppy display at Old Trafford at the weekend. It provides a chance for some fringe players to give the manager food for thought and, in some circumstances, showcase their abilities ahead of a potential last-minute transferaway from the club.

Solskjaer bemoaned his side’s lack of a pre-season after Saturday’s defeat. The team had just seven days together before their 2020-21 opener whereas Palace were into their third game of the campaign and had played four friendlies before that.

While that only provides a tiny amount of mitigation for the performance, the issue facing the Norwegian is that these competitive fixtures are acting as their pre-season.

“We’ll make some changes, of course we will,” Solskjaer told MUTV about his planned team selection for Luton. “For some, it’s the pre-season and, for some, they’ve only been here for a week now, for different reasons.

"Some of them need game-time and we can see we’re lacking in sharpness. We just need to make the most of the training sessions and games we have.”

Solskjaer needs results fast. There’s already been a huge overreaction from some aspects of the fanbase, calling for him to be sacked after one poor result. While the performance and result were bothgalling on Saturday night it would be ridiculous to write the whole season off on the back of it.

In the past, the League Cup has given chance for the club’s youngsters to be handed valuable minutes but Tuesday night’s game needs certainplayers to show why they can be valuable trusted options over what is set to be a very long campaign. We are just 37 days on from that Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla whenSolskjaerlooked at his bench in the RheinEnergieStadion and decided he didn’t have the personnel available to change the game.

With the transfer window closing in less than two weeks, and Donny van de Beek the only addition to the squad, Solskjaer is facing the reality of a season with his current squad -the same squad he didn’t appear to have faith in little over a month ago.

After watching his side’s tired performance on Saturday he will know he is going to have to rely on his squad players to get him through the season.

The likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira, who didn’t even make the squad on Saturday, will be needed, should they stay at the club beyond the end of the transfer window. Then there’s Fred who has struggled for game time since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes. The Brazilian had impressed in the first half of the season but may find himself with even fewerminutes following the arrival of Van de Beek.

Odion Ighalo, who had his loan deal extended until January, proved to be a worthwhile back-up option for Solskjaer before games were halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic but was used sparingly in the matches following the restart.

The United boss also has other options at centre-back with Eric Bailly fit again. After Victor Lindelof’s performance on Saturday there’s a strong case for arguing that the place next to Harry Maguire is up for grabs,especially if they don’t manage to sign anyone else in that position.

Solskjaer has options; it just comes down to whether or not the belief and trust is there to rotate them with his favoured starting XI.

Added to that is the battle between Dean Henderson and David de Gea for the No.1 spot.That is set for its next chapter against Luton with the England international in line for his first-team debut against the Championship side. After a few nervy moments from the Spaniard againstPalace, Henderson knows what is needed of him should he be given the chance at Kenilworth Road.

In a worst-case scenario Solskjaer won’t have any additional new faces through the door before the window closes, which means until January at least this is the squad he has to work with.

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