The boss opted for the fluid midfield system at the weekend, following encouraging outings in the Capital One Cup tie against the Magpies and Tuesday’s Champions League triumph over CFR Cluj. This time, Sir Alex fielded Michael Carrick at the base of the diamond with Wayne Rooney at the head, flanked by Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa.
“I wanted to try the diamond again after some success against Cluj, which is not an easy place to go to, and against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup,” Sir Alex told MUTV. “It worked very well for us. Obviously there were moments in the second half when we felt we had to change.
“The diamond closes off the midfield. The only problem is when the ball goes out wide, how far your midfield gets separated. If you try to keep it tight in the centre of the field, then the opposition have to go wide.
“Okay, we took a gamble today because Newcastle are so big up front and they're good crossers of the ball. But the football we played from the central midfield positions through Cleverley, Kagawa, Rooney and Carrick was terrific.
“We played so well on Tuesday against a decent team. People look at the name Cluj and say they expect United to win, but they are a decent side. And because we played so well on Tuesday, I thought we should find out how far we can go with that diamond system.”