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Solskjaer Reveals Full Extent Of Alexis Sanchez’ Injury as United Proceed to FA Fourth Round After a Rusty Face-Off with Reading

United vs Reading, Reading

The tournament changed, the opponent changed, line-up changed, still the streak remains unscathed as Manchester United received the second-tier club Reading with warmth and a bit of ruthlessness.

Manchester United have been on one of their purple patches under their former striker turned interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with five wins in as many games.

The game ended 2-0 in favour of the Red Devils in the first FA Cup tie of the season.

When the Red Devils hosted Division two club Reading for the third round of the FA cup, Solskjaer didn’t back away from testing his bench given that their stalwarts were making merry of their opponents in the last few games. He made as many as 9 changes since the last game against Newcastle with Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku making their first starts under the Norwegian.

Other notable starts were Fred, Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira and the Argentinian Goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Fair to say, Reading matched the illustrious 12-time champions of the competition. It was one of those games where the score line doesn’t portray how the game panned out.

The inexperience pretty much reflected from the way United played throughout the game. It was very unlike the last 4 games as they failed to maintain much of the possession and also not many shots were taken on target.

Reading looked very composed in their midfield waiting for things to happen. They dominated the first 15 minutes, the end of which saw an offside goal by Fred. The game ceased for a long time after which referee Stuart Atwell awarded a penalty to United for a foul on Mata in the build-up after consulting the VAR.

Juan Mata, making his second consecutive start, found no real troubles in converting the penalty and giving United, the much coveted lead.

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Reading would have hoped to go into the half-time with no further damage but it wasn’t to be. 4 minutes into the stoppage time, the pair of Sanchez and Lukaku combined to double the lead.

An astute through-ball was enough for Lukaku to showcase his pace and agility as he went around the keeper Anssi Jaakkola and found the net.

The second half was a period of frustration as Marcus Rashford being brought in, went too far ahead and couldn’t convert a one-on-one. Many chances were messed up due to lack of presence of mind.

This would well be on the checklist of the new manager. Although their mainstays are looking in red hot form but cometh an unfortunate injury, the bench has to step up. Right now, they seem to lack game-time.

The ever-honest Solskjaer seemed unimpressed with his side and rightly so, this was probably their worst performance under the interim manager.

When asked to comment on his team’s performance, Solskjaer, who matched Matt Busby`s record of winning his first five matches in charge. A record unmatched since 1946, said:

“You can`t ask for more than going through but the way we played wasn`t the best,”

“They controlled it in the first five minutes and we weren`t up to speed. But we made nine changes, and they hadn`t played together as a unit so I made it hard for the boys.”.

“But we got the goals and managed to get through.”

Alexis Sanchez, after a long injury lay-off was forced off the field in the 64th minute due to a troubled hamstring.

“I hope it`s not going to be too bad — it`s the same hamstring that he`s been having trouble with but we`ll see. Hopefully he`ll be okay for next weekend,”

                                                                              – Solskjaer said while speaking about Sanchez’s injury.

Given that the attack seems rather injury prone, the bench has to be up and about waiting for an opportunity. A great club always has brilliant starters and equally potent reserves as well.

The fans hoped for a qualification and it went their way but not in a way they would have hoped. Solskjaer remains valid while saying that the reserves didn’t have much game time behind them coming into this game. But as the season reaches its ultimatum, these reasons won’t help their cause.

Stay Tuned!

Monish Naidu
A passionate writer with strong views and love for the game.

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