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Manchester United: Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku must ‘do it for themselves’

Manchester United forwards Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku “have to do it for themselves” on the pitch, says interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku
Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku

Sanchez, 30, and Lukaku, 25, appeared to fall out of favour under former manager Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer said he has given them “guidelines” on expressing themselves but that it is “up to them” to perform.

Sanchez last featured for United against Crystal Palace in November because of a hamstring injury.

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Lukaku, a £75m signing in 2017, has not played in Solskjaer’s first two games in charge, but has returned to training before Sunday’s visit of Bournemouth in the Premier League.

He has scored six goals in 16 league games this season, while Sanchez, who joined from Arsenal in January, has one goal in 10 matches.

“Romelu, Anthony [Martial] and Alexis they were light, light [training] yesterday so hopefully they can join part of the training today and let’s see after how they come through,” Solskjaer said on Friday.

‘I give guidance but it’s up to them’
Solskjaer has been credited with the return to form of Paul Pogba, who scored twice in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

But Solskjaer said: “I cannot do anything for their performances on the pitch; Paul has done it.

“I’m here to keep them on the path and it’s up to them when they get a chance – that’s the name of the game as a footballer.

“I gave some guidelines of course on expression, freedom of expression but that’s how I’ve always been as a manager – just enjoy playing for this club. That’s the best time of your life, but it’s not a bad time to be manager for a while.”

United, who have won both their league games since Solskjaer was appointed until the end of the season, are sixth in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Will Valencia remain captain?
Solskjaer played down question marks over the future of Antonio Valencia at the club.

The 33-year-old has made only seven appearances this season, but Solskjaer confirmed he will remain as skipper.

“Antonio is the captain when he’s proper fit,” he said. “When he’s playing, he’ll wear the armband.

“When you look at him, there are not many more better right-backs going forward with his abilities.” BBC Sport.