Solskjaer arrives for the Manchester derby

Solskjaer explains changes to XI

Wednesday 24 April 2019 18:26

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made sweeping changes to his side to face Manchester City in the derby from the team beaten 4-0 at Everton last Sunday.

The manager has made five alterations to the XI at Goodison Park to face Pep Guardiola’s Blues in the 178th all-Manchester showdown.

Luke Shaw returns to the defence following his two-game domestic ban that kept him out of the West Ham Premier League win, when the Reds were last at Old Trafford, and the defeat at Everton.

Matteo Darmian is also back for his first league start since last December in Jose Mourinho’s last match in charge in the loss at Liverpool.

The Italian has started just one game in Solskjaer’s reign against Reading in the Emirates FA Cup back in January. Ashley Young, who came on as a half-time substitute on Merseyside last Sunday, starts and regains the captain’s armband, possibly as part of a five-man defence.

Matteo Darmian is a surprise starter to face City in the derby

Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira also both come back into the team, with Phil Jones and Scott McTominay likely to be injured.

Out of the starting XI from the Everton defeat are Jones, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial.

Jones came off injured at Goodison but the other four are on the bench to face City in a crucial match for United who need to keep pace with the battle for the remaining two places in the Champions League slots in the Premier League's top four.

United had a warm-up this morning at their former Cliff training ground where Solskjaer assessed some of his players ahead of naming his XI.

Talking about his changes he told MUTV: "Well, two are enforced. A couple are enforced. Fitness wise. We had to make a decision before the game what shape we wanted to do and that’s the shape we went with. We just had a stretch (at the Cliff) and a talk and a fitness test for one or two players. It was just to freshen up the heads. If you stay in the hotel all day long, it’s not good for you. So it was nice."

While United are chasing the top-four berth, City need victory to leapfrog Liverpool again at the top of the division in the intense battle for the Premier League title.

United: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Young (C), Pogba, Fred, A. Pereira, Lingard, Rashford.

Subs: Romero, Dalot, Mata, Matic, Alexis, Lukaku, Martial.

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Fernandinho, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Aguero.

Subs: Muric, Danilo, Sané, Mahrez, Otamendi, Jesus, Foden