Solskjaer counting on McTominay's goals for Man Utd to flourish

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(Reuters) - Manchester United need their midfielders to score more goals and Scott McTominay has the characteristics to get into double figures despite being deployed as a defensive midfielder, manager ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday.

McTominay, 24, has scored seven times in all competitions this season, including in United's last three fixtures with Tuesday's extra-time winner against West Ham United sending them through to an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

Bruno Fernandes leads the United scoring charts with 18 goals in all competitions this term and, with Paul Pogba still sidelined due to injury, Solskjaer said McTominay can help ease the goalscoring burden on the forwards.

"We need more goals from midfield and Scott does have that ability to go box-to-box. He's a threat inside the box and he used to be a striker," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday's match at second-bottom side West Bromwich Albion.

United are second in the standings, five points behind Manchester City who also have a game in hand.

"I think for us to move up the league and be successful in the cups, we need our forwards to keep on firing, getting more goals, and I wouldn't mind some midfielders adding a few.

"If Scott can get into double figures then that would be a very good season for a so-called defensive midfielder."

With United also preparing for a Europa League last-32 tie against Real Sociedad, Solskjaer said the Spaniards are at a disadvantage after the first leg was moved to Turin due to travel restrictions to fight the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Last year's knockout stages were reduced to single legs at neutral venues and Solskjaer said that could be done again this season.

"The travel in Europe is difficult at the moment and it's not the decision that we've made," he said. "When one game is at a neutral venue, it's a disadvantage for the team that doesn't have the home game.

"(Last season) we met somewhere neutral and we made it a tournament... So for me, I wouldn't stand in the way of that."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)