Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United’s forwards will all chip in with more goals this season to ease the goalscoring burden on Bruno Fernandes.
Fernandes has been a revelation since signing for United in January 2020 and led the way in front of goal for Solskjaer’s side last season, netting 18 times in the league. Help from team-mates was not always forthcoming, with Marcus Rashford the next top goalscorer in the league with 11 goals.
But Solskjaer, speaking ahead of his side’s season opener against Leeds on Saturday, feels his strikeforce, which has been bolstered by the arrival of Jadon Sancho this summer, will find their scoring boots on a more regular basis this time around.
“To be able to spread the goals across more forwards is going to be important for us,” Solskjaer said. “An attacking midfielder should not be the only player reaching 15 or 20 goals for us, no.
“Anthony (Martial) will score more goals than he did last season, Mason (Greenwood) will develop, Edinson (Cavani) started late last season so will score more goals, Jadon will come in and chip in with goals so I feel confident that the burden is not just on Bruno to score.
“Of course, he (Fernandes) is fantastic – his return in terms of goals and assists has been unbelievable since he came into the club. Marcus will, of course, miss out on the first couple of months of the season, which is not great for him, but he will come back fresh.
“Last season was disappointing but I am very confident in what I see from Anthony. I like what I see from him in training, what I see in the gym. He has the bit between his teeth again.”
Solskjaer remains trophyless since taking charge in December 2018, with last season’s penalty-shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final still hurting the Norwegian, who hopes his side have learned lessons from getting so close to silverware as they target a lasting Premier League title tilt this term.
“Every single game, and every single training matters,” Solskjaer added. “If you want to be successful that is what you need. We have had a horrible feeling in our stomach this summer because the last game ended the way it did, with one penalty. It hurts, and takes time to get over.
“That horrible feeling came back when I watched Chelsea against Villarreal’s penalty shootout the other day. We were there, and every time you see those pictures, or every time I see Arsenal celebrating winning the title in 1998 or whenever we didn’t win, is horrible.
“We all have to have that hunger, that fear of losing. We learned that we have to prepare better, we are ready.”