Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s return to his hometown club was marred by the confirmation that Manchester United defender Eric Bailly faces up to five months out following knee surgery.
Solskjaer revealed the extent of Bailly’s injury after Juan Mata’s late penalty gave United a 1-0 win over Kristiansund, the team from the town where he was born – and for whom the Norwegian’s son Noah made his debut as a late substitute.
Bailly suffered the injury during United’s 2-1 win over Tottenham in their pre-season meeting in Shanghai last week.
With the exception of Paul Pogba who started on the bench, Solskjaer, who watched the game with his other son, Elijah, named a virtually full-strength side against the Norwegians.
But despite dominating the game for long periods, United failed to break down their opponents until the clock ticked over to stoppage time.
Mata converted the spot-kick after being brought down in the box, but the overall display only served to highlight Solskjaer’s search for new striking options, centred around Paulo Dybala.
The Juventus striker is reportedly involved in talks over a switch to Old Trafford in what could effectively turn into a swap deal, with Romelu Lukaku heading in the opposite direction.
But Solskjaer would not be drawn on the speculation after full-time, telling manutd.com: “I’m not here to talk about rumours about other team’s players. We’re working on one or two cases. It’s 10 days or so before we start the league and hopefully we can announce a fresh face or two.”
Marcus Rashford missed a pair of early chances for the visitors and Scott McTominay lashed a long-range effort against a post.
Pogba appeared for United as one of a host of chances on the hour mark, while Solskjaer witnessed a proud moment for son Noah when he was introduced for the final four minutes.
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