Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has set new summer signing Edinson Cavani a series of targets before making his debut for the Old Trafford club. When United signed the Uruguayan on deadline day, he travelled from France and had to self isolate because of the coronavirus restrictions and was only able to train with his new teammates for the first time on Sunday, also training on Monday ahead of the players flying to France to take on Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League group stages on Tuesday evening. Cavani was missing from the group of players who left for France.
The 33-year-old has not played football since his last match for PSG which was the Trophée des Champions 2-1 victory over Stade Rennais on the 3 August 2020. It may be a period of time before the player is deemed fully fit in order to start matches for United and it is hoped that he can start to progress this week so he could feature against Chelsea in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening when the two sides meet. Anthony Martial will be missing from the Premier League matches with a three match suspension, missing the clashes with Chelsea and Arsenal. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Solskjaer said:
“He’s naturally fit. He is fit enough but he needs to play football with the rest of the players and be in those kinds of situations.
“Of course, you can’t live on memory, really, because it’s been a while. He’s very thorough, professional and he knows what he needs and what he wants.
“He still hasn’t ticked all the boxes before he’s available to play.”
Cavani is naturally fit, which is something that Solskjaer stated but in order to fit into the team well, he will need to training around his peers for a period of time. Obviously, he will have that chance this week, despite his teammates flying to Paris for the opening Champions League group stage match. During the rest of the week, Cavani will be able to link up with the teammates who were involved against PSG, working towards making his debut for the club, hopefully against Chelsea which would see United with other forward options. Solskjaer also touched on the fact that Cavani getting his sharpness and fitness back, also talking about Odion Ighalo, saying:
“I think as a team and a club we always want to get players in. And I think Edinson coming in, we’ll give him time to adapt to the Premier League and get his sharpness and fitness back.
“We’ve had some very good performances by Odion [Ighalo] and he’s still a very important part of this squad.”
It will be interesting to see how it works out for Cavani and United this season. It was expected that he could feature against his former club, PSG in the Champions League with the Uruguayan scoring 49 goals in the competition throughout his career. I guess that his 50th goal in the competition will have to wait a little bit longer, perhaps against Red Bull Leipzig on Wednesday 28 October when the Champions League returns to Old Trafford for the first time since the 2018/19 season in which the last match saw United beaten by Barcelona in the semi-finals of the competition. Here’s hoping that Cavani will be fit to play against Chelsea.
Written by John Walker