Robson: Ole got it right with the new formation
Manchester United hero Bryan Robson has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical decisions that inspired Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Solskjaer made another big call by picking Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo in a front two for the first time. It yielded fantastic results, too, after each of the experienced strikers scored magnificent goals. One of Ole’s second-half substitutes, Marcus Rashford, then rounded off the scoring late on.
Robson was impressed by our much-improved performance at Tottenham and believes the manager will stick with the same approach against Atalanta on Tuesday night in the Champions League.
Before his flight to Italy on Monday morning, Bryan spoke exclusively to club reporter Stewart Gardner in an interview you can read below…
“It was really important. We looked organised, we looked disciplined in the way that Ole has set the team out and that is what you expect from us. I thought our counter-attacking play was pretty good as well, but the main thing was that we did look solid again.”
Did you like the three, or five, at the back?
“I do like it. I think it worked well and I think it suits a lot of the players in our squad. But the main thing is that is made us look more solid and compact as a team. And that is what we had to get back to, those basics of being defensively very good. We know we have got players who are always going to score goals on the counter attack and I thought that worked well.”
“Well, Cavani worked his socks off, which you expect from him because that's what he does - he leads from the front. Ronaldo, his goal was top class as well. It was a great ball from Bruno but a great finish from Ronaldo. You can see that when two great players are playing alongside each other, you can see they just know what to do when each of them are on the ball. I thought that worked well, Ronaldo and Cavani worked well really together, and then with Bruno in behind them you know we will create chances.”
Atalanta showed what they can do by going two up at Old Trafford, before we turned it around, so how difficult will this match be on Tuesday night?
“I think it's the same again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ole plays exactly the same team and doesn't freshen it up. I would just say 'please go out and do the same again lads', and if that's the case then Atalanta will find it more difficult to create chances than they did at Old Trafford. On the counter attack, we can cause them a lot of problems and for me we should just go out there and do the same again.”
“I think, because of the way we had been performing in the last few games, it was helpful that we have got two games like Tottenham and Atalanta, away from home, where we can go a bit more defensive, be compact and the fans are not going to get upset with that because you are away from home. The balance of the team was very good and we got that solid base back. That's why it was important we are away from home, when we can try to get it right.”
Ole’s Man of the Match against Tottenham was Scott McTominay, who was driving up and down the pitch all night. As somebody who used do that, were you impressed by his performance?
“Scott had a group of players around him, we were organised and disciplined in our approach, and that helped Scott to perform in the way we know he can. He wasn't isolated, which in the Liverpool and Leicester game, our midfield players were getting isolated, then the back four were isolated, people were creating far too many chances against us, so the game really helped Scott. But the team ethic was just a lot better.”
Some fans might say they’d take a point from this trip to Italy: would you take a point?
“We can win this game. The lads know that. We criticised the first half performance when Atalanta created far too many chances against us, but when you look at the second half we were so dominant. If the lads play a typical away game in Europe, starting off really solid and don't concede a goal in the first 20 to 25 minutes, then we can grow into the game and win it.”
Atalanta v United kicks off at 20:00 GMT on Tuesday.