Ole Gunnar Solskjær has acknowledged it is a task to ensure that Mason Greenwood does not suffer “second-season syndrome” despite last season’s impressive contribution from the Manchester United forward.
In 2019-20, Greenwood’s 17 goals put him as the most prolific teenager in a season, alongside George Best, Brian Kidd, and Wayne Rooney. Yet his finish in Sunday’s 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool was just a fourth of the campaign and the first for two months.
Solskjær was asked if Greenwood was in danger of being dazzled by his performance last season. The United manager said, “It’s always a challenge.”
“It’s just a test. We’re talking about the second-season syndrome, and the Premier League is unforgiving if you take your eye off the ball for a tiny second.
I have often said that 100 percent failure is 99 percent effort. And, of course, players who ease off every day a little in training-I’m not saying this is Mason, I’m saying it’s the case with each one-still it’s a learning curve and examination.
To ensure no one slackens off, Solskjær monitors player info. “I feel now that we may have overcome those problems because they understand my requirements for standards and habits and physical requirements and running stats,” he said.
I look at every game, there’s no hiding place, and I don’t even hide that fact. I want players who can outdo the opponent and that’s a demand, but then again when you have the standard of players, you can sometimes tolerate maybe a little less running, but not much because it takes a good player’s hell to rest.
“Maybe [Cristiano] Ronaldo was allowed to come with us once or twice [when they were teammates], but at Man United, there were not many more.”
Greenwood has been encouraged by Solskjær to ensure that he kicks on. “It’s not going to just happen on its own. A while back, he also scored against West Ham and was supposed to kick on,’ said the boss. “I’m very confident that with good performances and goals and assists, Mason will chip.”