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Solskjaer: Man Utd youngsters will benefit from 'tough times'

11:34 GMT 29/10/2019
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd vs Liverpool 2019-20
With only one win in five in the Premier League, the beleaguered Red Devils boss has tried to look on the bright side

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Manchester United have been through "tough times" recently, but has claimed that it will benefit his young players in the long run.

Not helped by injuries to the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw, Solskjaer has turned to youngsters such as James Garner, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams this term.

And, on the back of successive away wins over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League and Norwich City in the Premier League, the Norwegian lauded his youngsters for stepping up in his time of need.

"The characters will be revealed in tough times," he said. "I couldn't give them any more responsibility and I couldn't be happier with them. 

"We know it's been tough and we know we've asked a lot of them because of injuries to Paul, Luke, Anthony and the others. 

"For us, the youngsters have stepped up in a difficult period and in the end they'll be stronger for it."

Solskjaer has also praised Chelsea manager Frank Lampard ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup tie at Stamford Bridge for building an "exciting" squad.

Solskjaer and Lampard have both placed their faith in youth during their first full campaigns at their respective clubs, fielding two of the youngest average aged line-ups in the Premier League.

Academy products Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour have all been used by Chelsea, who have won seven matches on the spin in all competitions.

The Blues' form over the past month is a far cry from their inconsistent start to the campaign when they won only one of their opening five matches, including a heavy 4-0 loss at Old Trafford in their Premier League opener.

But, ahead of United's trip to Stamford Bridge, Solskjaer admitted the scoreline in August's match flattered his side and is expecting a different type of contest in west London.

"Frank has done a good job. Their performance against us was good, the result was bad. We hold our hands up and say that the result was flattering," he said.

"They pressed us but we scored two goals in a minute to decide the game. We didn't think we were four goals better. It is going to be an interesting game.

"They've got a very exciting team. Frank has players who have been on loan one or two seasons in the Championship. 

"The difference with my youngsters is they're stepping straight onto the scene. Axel [Tuanzebe] has been out on loan and is feeling the benefits. Chelsea are a mature young team."

United have one win in five in the Premier League and, having dispatched Norwich at the weekend, could do with another good result in the cup.

They last won the League Cup in 2017 under Jose Mourinho in the same season as they won the Europa League, their last trophy to date.