Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah joined the Dutchman on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

Wijnaldum pleased to help Reds get back to winning ways after defying illness

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  • 2019-02-11 06:10:25 1 years ago
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Georginio Wijnaldum urged Liverpool to "keep it going" after the Dutchman dragged himself off his sickbed to help the Reds' get their title bid back on track with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

The Holland midfielder had been struggling with sickness in the 48 hours leading up to Saturday's match, resulting in being ordered by the doctor to stay away from the team hotel the night before the game.

And even though he was still affected during the clash he played a key role, including a brilliant lob over Artur Boruc for Liverpool's second.

"Thursday night I had a tablet from the doctor for my knee. It was a tablet that could induce stomach pains," said Wijnaldum, was named man of the match.

"I took it and I had a pain and thought it was from the tablet. In the end I was vomiting and everyone was a little bit scared.

"I didn't train on Friday and I didn't sleep at the hotel either because they thought I might infect other players.

"The manager called me and said 'Do you think you can play?' I said I was as positive as I can. In the morning I was still weak and had diarrhoea.

"The tablets helped a lot but even at half-time I had to run off to get to the toilet. I was like 'Oh no!'. I ran inside and I managed to control it!"

Wijnaldum's return to the side after missing Monday's draw at West Ham made a significant difference against Bournemouth.

However, what was more important was getting back to winning ways after back-to-back 1-1 draws against the Hammers and Leicester had left critics questioning their mettle for a fight.

Liverpool's win saw them return to the top of the Premier League, although Manchester City regained first place on goal difference following Sunday's thumping 6-0 win over Chelsea.

"We had two draws in a row and that didn't feel that good," he added.

"But if we had been told that at the beginning (of the season) you will have this kind of points (65) everyone would have taken it.

"It could be better but we must appreciate where we stand.

"You can see the improvement. You could see at the beginning of the season we improved. We just have to keep it going."

Georginio Wijnaldum brilliantly lobbed home Liverpool's second goal in their 3-0 win over Bournemouth
Wijnaldum brilliantly lobbed home Liverpool's second goal in their 3-0 win over Bournemouth (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool head to Marbella for a warm-weather training break as they are not involved in next weekend's FA Cup, meaning they return to action in the Champions League at home to Bayern Munich on February 19.

Wijnaldum is optimistic they can realistically fight on two fronts.

"We have to see how it is going to work. I think we can play both," he said.

"You never know but a lot of times it goes well. Last season the Champions League went well and we dropped a lot of points in the league.

"But I don't think it was because of the Champions League."

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Wijnaldum pleased to help Reds get back to winning ways after defying illness

Martial has the ability to emulate Ronaldo - Solskjaer

Anthony Martial has the talent to reach Cristiano Ronaldo's level if he puts his mind to it, according to Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 23-year-old has impressed in fits and starts since moving from Monaco to Old Trafford in 2015, becoming the most expensive teenager in history in the process.

Martial had looked set to leave in the summer after falling out with Jose Mourinho, only to fight his way back into the Portuguese's plans and last month sign a deal until at least 2024 under Solskjaer.

The France international marked his first start since that contract with an assist and a superb second in the 3-0 win against Fulham, where his fine solo goal led ex-United captain Gary Neville to compare it to a Ronaldo effort at Craven Cottage in 2007.

"Yes, it was towards the end of the game and we played a very poor game and Cristiano scored it," Solskjaer said of his former team-mate's goal.

"He does have similarities, of course.

"If he wants to be at Cristiano's level, Anthony knows what he has to do. It's up to him. He has the talent."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a very similar goal at Craven Cottage in 2007
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a very similar goal at Craven Cottage in 2007 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Getting anywhere near those heights would be remarkable for a player that Mourinho was keen to sell in the summer.

Had the former United boss got his way, there is a chance Martial may have been lining up for Paris St Germain rather than United in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg.

"I am glad he is in my team," Solskjaer said. "He has contributed to so many chances, so many goals. He is a Manchester United player. He excites the crowd. He excites the manager. He excites his team-mates. And he is a great character around the place."

Tuesday's first leg kicks off a big few weeks for United, whose hopes of progressing past PSG and reaching the quarter-finals have been bolstered by Neymar's absence.

Neymar will miss Paris St Germain's clash with Manchester United due to injury
Neymar will miss Paris St Germain's clash with Manchester United due to injury (Mike Egerton/PA)

"When you play against the best teams, you want to play against the players," Solskjaer said. "The crowd want to see the best players. Too bad for Old Trafford.

"I have played a couple of games when we played Real Madrid and Ronaldo and (Luis) Figo and all those were coming to Old Trafford. That gives it an extra edge.

"Unfortunately for Neymar he is injured, but of course he is a quality player. I think our right-back thinks it is not too bad he will not be here."

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People are taking Manchester United seriously again, says defender Phil Jones

Phil Jones believes everyone is taking Manchester United seriously again having been "a bit of a laughing stock" at the start of the season.

Few could have predicted the upturn in fortunes that caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen since replacing Jose Mourinho in December.

United have won 10 of the Norwegian's 11 matches in the hotseat, leading him to break records, become United's first manager of the month since Sir Alex Ferguson and be installed as the bookmakers' favourite to get the job permanently.

Solskjaer's excellent audition continued with a 3-0 win at embattled Fulham on Saturday – a result that moved them into the top four for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.

United were 11 points shy of the top four when Mourinho was fired, but Jones, a Premier League champion with the club in 2013, believes they are back on the up.

"It was a big game for us," he said. "We knew we could get into the top four.

"It's a big statement from where we were, we just need to keep improving and keep picking up points."

Asked if it was a big psychological boost to be in fourth, Jones added: "Yeah, huge.

"Everyone's got to take us seriously now, you know?

"OK, we might have been a bit of a laughing stock maybe at the start of the season but certainly not now.

"We've proven that in the last 10 or 12 games. We're improving, still getting better."

United have won 25 points in nine league matches under Solskjaer – just a point less than Mourinho managed over the opening 17 games of the season.

Quizzed on the change of mindset, Jones said: "Yeah, just a positivity about the place to grind results out when we're not playing well, to play forward, to play with intent and purpose and that's exactly what we're going.

"You can see it in every game. We're creating a number of chances and putting them away.

"It was tough for everyone involved (at the start of the season).

"Everyone at the club, the supporters, everyone. But it's about becoming stronger and seeing that through. I think we have done.

"I've said in the past, we've not achieved anything yet. We're under no illusions of that but we're heading in the right direction."

Jones' excitement at the future was clear after signing a new deal until 2023, with the option of a further year, on the eve of the Fulham game – an extension that some fans expressed disappointment about.

"Listen, I don't lose sleep over what people say about me," the England international said. "It's football.

"I'm going to get criticism in the future, I'm going to get criticism in the past. Honestly, I generally don't care.

"I have a wonderful family, wonderful friends. I play football for Man United and I've been given an extra contract and I'm grateful for that and thankful for that. It's great."

It is the kind of thick skin required at a club like United, whose desire to improve at centre-back under Mourinho was clear throughout the summer.

A variety of different names were mentioned but Jones was not stung by that hunt for new faces.

"If I'm being brutally honest, not really at all," the centre-back said. "Since I've come to the club, we've signed players left, right and centre: forwards, defenders, goalkeepers.

"Listen, we're Man United, of course we're interested in the best players in the world. I'd be pretty amazed if we weren't, so yeah, it's great."

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