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Solskjaer backs Martial to 'step up' and reach 20-goal target


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have Scott McTominay available against Watford tomorrow as the Manchester United manager challenged Anthony Martial to show more aggression in his pursuit of 20 goals this season.

McTominay has been sidelined for eight weeks after suffering knee ligament damage in the St Stephen's Day win over Newcastle United. But Solskjaer said the Scotland midfielder could return against Watford at Old Trafford in a boost to United's hopes of a top-four finish.

"He might be in the squad. He had a rest day today, so let's see how he is tomorrow," the manager said.

"I'm not surprised [at the speed of his return], that's the type he is. He's a physical specimen. He's a leader, he never shirks a tackle and brings everyone with him.

"He can sit with Nemanja [Matic] or Fred, or he can be one of the runners in midfield. We don't have that many runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, so he's used to being in the box."


Martial claimed his 14th goal of the season in Thursday's 1-1 Europa League draw away to Club Brugge, the France striker showing speed and strength as he outmuscled Brandon Mechele before powering his way to goal and finishing coolly.

It was a fine piece of centre-forward play from a player who has stood accused of not making his presence felt enough up front.

With Marcus Rashford uncertain to play again this season due to a back injury, the burden on Martial for goals is huge and Solskjaer hopes United will see more physicality from the Frenchman.

"I think Anthony can step up, get a few more and get to the 20 mark Definitely," Solskjaer said.

United signed Odion Ighalo on loan on deadline day and he could face former club Watford. Solskjaer may have Mason Greenwood back from illness but was evasive when asked if Ighalo could start. (© Daily Telegraph, London)