Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains why he has no goal targets for Manchester United’s attackers

Marcus Rashford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not want to put Manchester United's attackers under additional pressure by setting fixed goal targets.

United have had an indifferent start to the 2019/20 campaign, and currently occupy a position in the bottom half of the table - although they have played a game fewer than most of the sides above them.

Scoring goals has been a particular problem for the Red Devils, who have found the net just 19 times in 13 top-flight encounters.

That is the same amount as 16th-placed Aston Villa, who United face on Sunday, and fewer than Burnley.

Recent reports suggest Solskjaer will seek to bolster his attacking options when the transfer window reopens in January.

But despite his team's struggles going forward, the Norwegian refuses to set goal targets for the likes of Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial.

“I won’t be setting goal targets for Marcus, Anthony or any of my players because it’s counter-productive," said Solskjaer, who scored 126 goals for United during his playing career.

"The only thing I demand from my forwards is that they do all the things we work on in training to give themselves the best chance of scoring.

“That means getting into good positions, keeping yourself moving and concentrating on finding the best shot or header possible. That philosophy stood me in good stead when I was a player.

“Some of the other lads I played with set themselves targets at the start of each season — and it worked for them. But I always wondered why strikers would give themselves one thing extra to worry about.

“I never set myself targets in terms of goals because, no matter how many times I hit the back of the net, I always wondered where my next goal was going to come from.

“I always felt that setting players certain targets put them under a level of extra pressure they don’t need. If you score a goal, that’s great. Then you focus on scoring the next one.”

“Being a striker is all about the next chance. If you score, forget it. If you miss, forget it. Believe me, scoring goals is the toughest job in football. You might get yourself in the best position, you might hit the ball cleanly — and the goalkeeper saves it. 

“Then, five minutes later, the ball hits you on the knee and you score without knowing anything about it. So I tell my forwards not to think about scoring 20 or 25 goals a season. Just concentrate on scoring the next one.

"You have to be focused. I used to worry all the time about where my next goal was coming from – but that’s what kept me concentrated.

“People might be surprised about that, but it’s about focusing on getting yourself in the right positions and making the best contact with the ball.

“But it can also be down to luck - and I have always believed that the more you get yourself in the right positions then the luckier you become.”

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