Nemanja Matic and Fred do battle with Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazatte.

Solskjaer discusses his midfield plans

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has outlined his options for Manchester United’s midfield over the coming weeks, and has reiterated his faith in Nemanja Matic and Fred as a partnership.

Although the manager admitted losing Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay to injury at the same time was “a big blow”, he feels their replacements have performed well when starting together in the Reds' last two matches.

“You could probably handle and deal with three players rotating there,” said Ole, in the second part of his press conference on Friday.

“But we have two players who are fit there now, Nemanja and Fred. It'll be a hard task for them, and we'll just have to ask them to keep going if they can.

Fred comes on as a substitute for Nemanja Matic
We've lost just one of the four matches in which Fred and Matic have been paired together in 2019/20.

“Nemanja has been out for a while, Paul has been out for a while and I think Scott and Fred have done really well, so now Nemanja is in when Scott is out.

“Paul unfortunately is not there, so we'll just have to find a way. You just can't accept that we're tired, you've got to find a way and it might be that we'll have to find different positions for someone.”

Tim Fosu-Mensah, who is on the cusp of a first-team return after a long injury lay-off, could be one such option, according to Solskjaer.

While he usually plays in defence, the Dutch international was deployed as a midfielder by both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, before his loan spells at Crystal Palace and Fulham.

Andreas Pereira has also occupied a deeper position than his usual no.10 role on several occasions this season.

“Tim, obviously when he comes back, he's capable of playing in midfield,” said Ole. “Yeah, [Andreas has] played a couple of games in there. He's not let us down in there, so he's an option.”

Whatever Ole decides to do, it’s likely that Matic will feature more prominently after overcoming his own injury issues which have restricted him to just nine appearances so far this campaign.

The Serbian performed well in the battling win at Burnley last Saturday and his return eases Solskjaer’s headache in the middle of the park.

Ole's press conference: A journalist's viewVideo

“Nemanja will stay,“ said Ole, addressing speculation about Matic leaving the club.

He's been working hard to get back in and now he's here and he's playing well.

“There's always a chance for [a new contract], of course there is. It's what you do on the pitch that is the decisive factor there.

“If someone drops out you have to be ready and take your opportunity and I think he's done okay.”

Solskjaer sets the record straight on PogbaVideo

On the question of whether midfield reinforcements could be signed in January, the boss replied:

“Well, we had four fit players for two positions at the start of the season, and we felt that we didn't find the right one [midfielder] for the right value. But we have been looking to strengthen the squad in several positions.”

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