Solskjaer backs Ighalo to make instant United impact despite ‘quarantine’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists new signing Odion Ighalo does not need to know his Manchester United team-mates to be an instant hero at Chelsea on Monday.
Ighalo only met the rest of United’s squad for the first time on Sunday because the Nigerian striker has trained alone in ‘quarantine’ in Manchester following his move from China as a precaution in case he was carrying the coronavirus.
The death toll from the outbreak neared 1,400 on Friday.
But despite missing United’s winter training camp in Spain, Ighalo, who joined on January 31, is in line to be on the bench for the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge with United still missing injured leading scorer Marcus Rashford.
Solskjaer says the lack of knowledge of his new team and style of play does not mean Ighalo cannot make an instant impact.
“Well, it didn’t take me too long. I didn’t have a training session to come on and score!” Solskjaer said on Friday.
“As a striker you get thrown on out there and it might be he’ll have to come off the bench, give us a goal and he does whatever he’s done.
He’ll be involved with us and travel down with us now he’s out of that precautionary two week period.”
United’s signing of the former Watford striker, who has been playing in China for three years, has been subject to criticism from fans who feel he is not up to the club’s standards.
But Solskjaer insisted it was necessary to strengthen United’s goal-shy attack following Rashford’s injury.
“We needed another forward and when we got the chance to get Odion on a loan that was for us - he’s a goalscorer, he was top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations last summer so he can help the club,” Solskjaer said.
This meeting begins a 13-game run-in during which Chelsea and United each hope to claim a Champions League berth.
For Frank Lampard’s side, the carrot is knowing a win takes them nine points clear of their visitors who for the same reason will be desperate to avoid this and claim victory themselves to close to within three points to the hosts. -Agencies