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By ESPN Staff
Nov 1, 2006

Ferguson sets Solskjaer twenty goal target

Sir Alex Ferguson has set Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a 20-goal target this season.

The veteran Manchester United striker already has six to his name after astounding the Red Devils medics with an amazing return to form after virtually three years sidelined with major knee problems.

Even at the start of the campaign there were doubts over Solskjaer's ability to make a meaningful contribution to the United cause.

Yet the Norwegian has been their match-winner on more than one occasion already this season and, with Louis Saha nursing a minor knee injury, is likely to help Wayne Rooney shoulder the burden of attack in the Parken Stadion tonight as United chase the point required to seal qualification into the knockout phase.

And, such has been Solskjaer's contribution over the past two months, Ferguson has already had to revise his expectations.

'A couple of weeks ago I was saying Ole might get us 20 goals,' revealed the Scot. 'I have a stronger feeling about it now. I think he can.

'He has a fantastic football brain and has the best movement inside the penalty box of any striker I have had during my time at United.

'Maybe he has lost half a yard of pace but I don't think the injury is responsible for that, it is just something that happens with age.

'He is an amazing individual and to have scored six goals already is incredible.'

With captain Gary Neville and fellow veteran Ryan Giggs also remaining in England, changes from the side which swamped Bolton on Saturday are inevitable as United look to come to terms with an atrocious pitch churned up by a Bruce Springsteen concert this weekend.

Wes Brown will replace Neville, while Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea will be rewarded for their consistency this season by receiving midfield starting berths.

Gabriel Heinze is also expected to line up at left-back as United look to extend a run of seven successive wins that has seen them established as serious trophy contenders on all fronts this term.

After a succession of failures on the European front, Ferguson is particularly keen to make an impact on the Champions League this year.

As he approaches his 20th anniversary as United manager, the Scot is acutely aware the trophy should have been collected more than once during his illustrious reign.

But, after being written off as contenders at the start of the season, Ferguson accepts his side's form over the opening two months of the campaign has pushed them back into the bracket of potential winners once more.

'We can do it,' he declared.

'During my time at the club, we should have won this competition at least another twice but this is a new team, full of promise.

'What we have to do is maintain our form and find a level of consistency. I am quite positive we will be able to do that.'