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Solskjaer 'trusts' Man United to prevail against Aston Villa

Solskjaer 'trusts' Man United to prevail against Aston Villa
© Reuters
The Red Devils head to Villa Park on Sunday continuing a tough run of four matches in eight days.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trusts his players to kick-off an unenviable run of three Premier League matches in five days with victory in Sunday's "massive game" at Aston Villa.

The Red Devils head to the midlands fresh from sealing their place in the Europa League final on Thursday, when they lost the semi-final second leg 3-2 at Roma but progressed 8-5 on aggregate.

Villarreal await in Poland but the focus now is on Villa as United continue a tough run of four matches in eight days, with home games against Leicester and Liverpool following hot on the heels of Sunday's match.

"Sunday at 2pm is not the problem," Solskjaer said. "That was always scheduled. Tuesday, Thursday after Thursday, Sunday, that's a big problem.

"I trust my players to get a result (against Aston Villa). First of all, Sunday is a big game for us. Of course, Sunday is a massive game and we're looking forward to it after the boost of getting into a final.

"This will hopefully give us energy and then let's see what we do Tuesday and Thursday. We just have to take it day by day and hopefully we can play those games."

The anti-Glazer protest that saw last weekend's clash with Liverpool postponed means Sunday's trip to Villa will be their first Premier League match in a fortnight.

United remain safely ensconced in second as Leicester managed just four points from three matches during that period, giving them a four-point cushion over the third-placed Foxes.

The Red Devils' superior goal difference means they will wrap up a top-four finish by winning at Villa Park, where United have not lost a Premier League match since 1995.

Solskjaer's side remain unbeaten on their top-flight travels this season and face a Villa side still without influential skipper Jack Grealish, but the United boss will not take the hosts for granted.

"I think they're a very good team," he said of Dean Smith's men. "You saw them last week beat Everton.

"They've had a very good season. They had a little spell with some worse results but we played them in a pre-season friendly before this season and lost.

"We won a hard-fought game 2-1 at Old Trafford. We know it's going to be tough but we're looking forward to it.

"The energy that we used tonight will probably be filled up twice [over] because of getting to a final.

"I think we'll recover, refuel, we're looking forward to this game, the players are looking forward to it. They know it's a big game for us."

Anthony Martial is still struggling with a knee injury
Anthony Martial is still struggling with a knee injury (Oli Scarff/PA)

Solskjaer has to strike a "balance of who plays when" in this quickfire Premier League triple-header, which will just come too soon for Anthony Martial.

The 25-year-old has been lied low with a knee injury sustained on international duty with France in March, but the forward is set to play a part before the end of the campaign.

"We've got belief and hope that he'll be available for the last few games of the season," Solskjaer added.

"He's working hard to get fit. He won't make these three games, though. That's unfortunate because we would have needed him."

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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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