Manchester: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his team have made “strides forward” this season despite their 2-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend.
Liverpool moved 16 points clear at the top of the table with that win on Sunday — and 30 points clear of fifth-placed United.
But Solskjaer was adamant his players showed signs of improvement at Anfield as they continue to chase a top-four finish this season.
“We’ve lost to Liverpool, a team that you all say are fantastic, and we’ve been in the game until the last kick of the ball,” Solskjaer said on Tuesday.
“For me, that’s strides forward. And, of course, we’re disappointed losing the game, we don’t want to be behind them in the league. But there were signs there that we are on the right track, definitely.”
Former club captain Gary Neville said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward should be held responsible for the club failing to win a league title since 2013 despite spending around £850 million on players.
Solskjaer said discussing the club’s recruitment policy is an unwelcome distraction ahead of Wednesday’s home match against Burnley.
“For me, now is not the time to speak about recruitment. We’re looking to the next game against Burnley,” the Norwegian head coach added.
“We’re always looking to improve the squad and to improve the club but for my mind, now is not the time, Gary, to start this discussion.”
United defender Victor Lindelof is a doubt after being sent home ill from training on Tuesday morning, according to the BBC.
The Sweden defender has been a virtual ever-present for United this season, starting 22 out of 23 Premier League games.
Lindelof joins Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba on the sidelines.
United will give Rashford all the time he needs to recover from a double stress fracture to his back.
Rashford picked up the injury in the 1-0 win over Wolves in the FA Cup replay last Wednesday, and will miss at least three months.
The England striker, who has scored 19 times for United this season, had been monitoring his back following the away match at Burnley on December 28, but Solskjaer said it was not a previous injury.
“Marcus will be out for a while, but he will get the time he needs to recover,” he said. “He’s not had that injury before. He complained a little bit after the last time we played Burnley. We managed him as well as we could then.
“He had some days off for treatment, we took him off in some games and then suddenly this was a new injury.”
Solskjaer must now decide whether to make a late move in the transfer window for a striker to cover for Rashford’s absence.
If he cannot bring anyone in, the Norwegian will look to 18-year-old Mason Greenwood and veteran midfielder Juan Mata — who scored the goal that knocked Wolves out of the FA Cup — to try and plug the gap.
“Mason will get more chances now and Juan will have to step up again,” he said. “We know we’re stretched with the injuries we’ve had but we’ll cope with that.”
Tottenham Hotspur face struggling Norwich City and Leicester City will look to get back to winning ways when they take on West Ham United.
On Thursday night, Liverpool travel to Molineux to play Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Leicester v West Ham, 11.30pm
Tottenham v Norwich City, 11.30pm
Man United v Burnley, 12.15am
Wolves v Liverpool, midnight