‘What was the change in formation then, you tell me?’
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at criticism that he has too often tinkered with his side’s tactical set-up recently.
Solskjaer has this season switched between his tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 and more experimental formations such as a midfield diamond and a three-man defence.
The Norwegian found success using the diamond at home to RB Leipzig in the Champions League as United ran out 5-0 winners, although a three-man defence failed to deliver away to the Bundesliga side as Solskjaer’s side crashed out of the group stage following a 3-2 defeat.
The former striker then switched back to a 4-2-3-1 for Saturday’s lifeless 0-0 derby draw with Manchester City.
Former United players Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand were critical of Solskjaer’s set-up following the club’s defeat in Leipzig.
“Change from three at the back, definitely, to go with four so you’ve got an extra man in midfield,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“Didn’t do it, waited until half-time to make a substitution but again, the substitution, it was too late. It was 2-0 before he could make a substitution anyway.”
Solskjaer rejects criticism.
However, Solskjaer has rejected criticism that he has changed United’s shape too often.
“What was the change in formation then, you tell me?” said Solskjaer ahead of United’s trip to bottom-placed Sheffield United on Thursday evening.
🗣️ “Whoever gets a midweek rest could have the advantage”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the so called smaller clubs could spring a surprise or two this season pic.twitter.com/v639yBpNSf
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“It was a 4-2-3-1 and coming into that pocket is probably Paul’s favourite position. Paul did well and the team’s shape was as it normally is.
“Twice we played three at the back – we beat PSG and lost to Leipzig – we played a full game with a diamond and two half games with a diamond. Four out of 22 games isn’t bad for consistency of a normal shape.
“That’s what we work on more or less every day. Some details will change within the same system. If you have Dan James on the left wing instead of Paul Pogba, or Marcus Rashford on the right instead of Juan Mata, it’s a different scenario.
“Sometimes you look at the opposition and where we need players with different qualities. I think they’re coping well with it.”