Solskjaer defends Van de Beek’s FA Cup showing as Hughes claims Man Utd stars ‘don’t trust’ Dutchman

The midfielder didn’t provide the same creative spark as Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba but his manager was pleased with his contribution

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended the performance of Donny van de Beek in the FA Cup win over West Ham after Mark Hughes suggested that the Dutchman’s slow start to life at the club is down to a lack of trust from his team-mates.

The Red Devils recorded a 1-0 extra-time win over the Hammers in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, with £35 million (€39m/$46m) summer signing Van de Beek having been given the chance to pull the strings from midfield ahead of a rested Bruno Fernandes.

The 23-year-old was eventually replaced by the Portuguese after 73 minutes following a largely ineffective performance and Hughes feels that more quality must be shown if Van de Beek is to become a key player for Solskjaer.

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What has Hughes said?

“You just sense… it looks like they don’t trust him with the ball yet,” three-time FA Cup winner Hughes told talkSPORT of Van de Beek.

“I haven’t seen a great deal of movement, I haven’t seen little movements to get in pockets of space, even though you suspect that’s the player he is and those are the areas he wants to work in.

“He’s been disappointing again. He’s playing for Manchester United, a huge club, he’s got to show more than he’s showing at the moment.

Bruno Fernandes Donny van de Beek Man Utd GFX

“You want to give the boy a chance, and he probably feels a bit aggrieved that he hasn’t had a run of games, he’s probably feeling a bit hard done by. But you have to say, given what he’s produced in the time he’s had, he doesn’t deserve more than that.

“So he’s got to show more.”

What did Solskjaer say?

The United boss was more forgiving of his performance, however, telling reporters after the match: “I thought in the first half, we and Donny played really well. 

“We created spaces and he was part of that. He did his job neat and tidy, had a half chance. In the second half, the whole team fell off a little bit and we just wanted to make a few changes.”

As well as Van de Beek, Solskjaer took time in his press conference to praise Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood.

“Mason did really well,” Solskjaer said. “He played well managing his minutes, played the last three [games]. Anthony [Martial] played a game the other week and we wanted him to complete the game.

“I always hope our keeper has a quiet night when we play and most of the time it’s happened that way.

“Today [Henderson] was clearing everything, apart from the last header. As a keeper, David [De Gea] has been used to this for years; to keep concentrated, keep your eye on the ball, then suddenly one moment comes up and you have to make a save. Hopefully that’s the way for many years.”

What were Van de Beek’s stats vs West Ham?

Donny van de Beek Man Utd West Ham stats

If there was any doubt over just how important Bruno Fernandes is to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, it was made painfully obvious as Manchester United struggled to break down West Ham, who put all 11 men behind the ball.

Of course, United have had problems in the past with teams that sit in a low block and, as these two sides slogged it out in the snow, there was no impetus, no spark and no creativity. Basically, there was no Bruno.

Fernandes had been given a rest as Solskjaer rotated his players, making six changes from the 3-3 draw with Everton, but they missed the Portuguese, badly. The only surprising thing was that Solskjaer waited until the 73rd minute to bring him on.

And it came as no surprise at all to see the number 34 flash up on the substitutes’ board. Van de Beek’s night was over.

Frustrating is probably the word that best sums up the 23-year-old’s time at Old Trafford so far. It’s been frustrating from his perspective, because he’ll feel he’s not been given as many chances as he would have expected. 

But United are also entitled to feel frustrated, given Van de Beek hasn’t made the most of the chances he has been afforded. Tuesday night has to go down as another missed opportunity.

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