Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vehemently denied that Mason Greenwood has been punished by Manchester United for poor timekeeping and says he ‘cannot believe’ the recent stories about the youngster’s apparent lack of professionalism.
Greenwood, 19, has been left out of United’s last two matchday squads for their trips to Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain and rumours have been circling that the club have disciplined the forward for turning up late to training.
United head coach Solskjaer has maintained throughout that Greenwood’s absence has been due to a minor injury and the Norwegian jumped to the teenager’s defence at his press conference on Friday morning.
The England international could return to the fold this weekend as the Red Devils prepare to welcome top-four rivals Chelsea to Old Trafford.
Asked whether Greenwood is attracting negative attention and making a ‘target’ of himself, Solskjaer replied: ‘Who’s making a target of himself… Mason? Well, you do when you play well.
‘I’m not concerned with Mason making a target of himself because he’s come in, he’s played fantastic, played his first league game against Tottenham last season, was brilliant and just kicked on.
‘Yeah, he’s made a mistake this summer with England and suddenly all the English press go after him. And that’s something we’ve got to look after.
‘He’s a fantastic boy to work with. I have to disappoint you, he’s never ever late for training. He’s never a problem when he’s in the training ground. He’s always on time.’
Solskjaer added: ‘I’ve seen the stories, actually some ex-United players talking about him, they don’t really know anything they are talking about.
‘We’ve got photographers outside the training ground every day so they can see he’s on time.
‘I don’t know where these stories have come from, I’ve just got to say he’s got a good family behind him. He’s had a good background in the academy. He’s a good trainer, I cannot believe all these stories about him not being professional.
‘That’s something we have to deal with, many other players at United have had that.’
Juan Mata has warned his United team-mates that they must be ready to play at their ‘best level’ to beat his former club on Saturday evening.
‘It’s always special for me to play against them. I’ve still got many friends in there,’ the Spaniard, who spent three years at Chelsea, told United’s official website.
‘I know Frank, we were team-mates. I know how good he is as a manager and of course how good he was as a player.
‘It will be tough because they’ve got great new players in the squad.
‘They have a big squad, so a lot of players can play and do well.
‘If we play in that way, I’m sure we will be close to winning.‘