(Reuters) - Manchester United must be wary of the threat posed by Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in Thursday’s Premier League clash at Villa Park, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Wednesday.
Grealish, 24, scored a sensational goal in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in December and British media have strongly linked the English midfielder with a move to Old Trafford.
“I think the last game they caused us some problems, Grealish off the left and Anwar El Ghazi on the right,” Solskjaer said in a virtual news conference ahead of the trip to Villa, who are 18th with 27 points, four from the safety zone.
“Grealish scored a fantastic goal, there’s been loads said about him and we need to be aware of him, if he’s off the left, middle or right, he attracts players to him but there’s not just one player in that Villa team, there are a lot of them.”
United, who are fifth with 55 points, four behind fourth-placed Leicester with a game in hand, are on a 16-game unbeaten run in all competitions and Norwegian Solskjaer has challenged his players to continue improving.
“As a footballer you know you can’t just pick out confidence from the fridge, you have to have it from every day in training and results matter,” he said.
“The last 16 games gives us confidence but nowhere near what a Manchester United team should stride towards. If we focus on the next one and suddenly stood there with 16 that’s what we’ve done and hopefully we can continue.”
The arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January has sparked United’s resurgence and Solskjaer believes there is a lot more to come from the Portuguese playmaker.
“I think it’s gone both ways. Bruno has come into the club, seen how many good players there are and that we’ve helped him show his attributes as well,” the United boss said.
“It’s been a good little relationship blossoming and he can also feel we help him improve. He’s come in and lifted everyone and it’s been a very, very good start so far.”
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris