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Manchester United

Solskjaer calls for Lukaku & Alexis to 'step up' as they get chance to impress during injury crisis

7:20 PM SGT 26/2/19
Romelu Lukaku Alexis Sanchez Man Utd
The Norwegian is looking for the duo to take their opportunity in the first team as they prepare to start against Crystal Palace on Wednesday

Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have been challenged by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to play to their potential and help Manchester United through an unfortunate injury crisis.

The Red Devils could be without as many as 10 players for a Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all picked up knocks during a goalless draw with Liverpool, while Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic were ruled out before kick-off.

Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia are also absent, leaving Solskjaer down to the bare bones.

He is going to have to get creative with his team selection at Selhurst Park, with it likely that a number of academy graduates will be involved in the matchday squad.

United will, however, have senior stars such as Lukaku and Sanchez at their disposal and two men who have struggled for form at times this season have been told that they need to “step up”.

“It's a chance for them to play to their potential,” Solskjaer said.

“Reputation is one thing, the potential is high and I'm sure of that because the two of them are good mates.

“They link up well together, so this might be a chance for them two to find some form and give a selection headache for when everyone gets fit again.

“Rom created our two biggest chances against Liverpool. It's a different position for him, I know, because Rashy's injury meant we had to rely on him standing up there and running in behind.

“He couldn't do too much defending work, so Rom's attitude and work rate was fantastic and the two chances - Jesse's and Chris [Smalling’s] at the end - was Rom's doing.

“They linked up between them against Arsenal in the FA Cup so hopefully Alexis and Rom can step up.”

If things get any worse for United, then Solskjaer may be forced to dust off his boots.

The Norwegian was a prolific frontman in his day, but admits that he probably is not the best option for Premier League duty at 46 years of age.

He joked when it was put to him that he may have to lead the line at some stage: “I don’t think age is the problem, the problem is my fitness!”

United will be hoping to see their injury issues ease over the coming weeks, with the club having worked hard to force their way back into contention for a top-four finish.

They are yet to suffer a Premier League defeat through 10 top-flight outings under Solskjaer and are also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they will face Wolves.