Solskjaer explains his selection policy
It goes with the territory, and has upset previous Manchester United managers, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was clearly a little disappointed to be asked to discuss his selection policy despite a 4-1 victory at Newcastle United.
The decision to select Juan Mata and Daniel James was fully vindicated after both played their part in the latest success on the road and this enabled Ole to spell out that it is up to individuals to take their chance when it is presented.
Yet the manager was also asked about Donny van de Beek's situation, after the Dutchman came off the bench, and it seems every announcement of the United XI is met on social media by instant flagging up of those not selected, rather than focusing on the players picked.
With a big squad, it is up to Ole to manage it how he sees fit and, of course, only 11 players can start each game. It was clear his tactical approach at St James' Park paid off as United cut loose in the closing stages to rack up a 4-1 victory that lifts confidence ahead of the trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
“Of course, I get questions about our players when they play and why they don’t play,” he said, when asked if Mata needs to start more regularly.
“We have many good players and it’s about taking your chances when you do get them. Juan has definitely done so.
”Juan is playing fantastic. He is so professional and everyone in the team knows his qualities. He has been so patient, waiting for the chance.
“Dan’s strength, you know, is his incredible speed. Today, I thought he showed productivity and trusted himself. We work with all the players and tell them to express themselves and show what they’ve got. Juan and Bruno [Fernandes] were in the pockets and Dan and Marcus were working hard to run in behind them and be positive. ”All of them did fantastic but I’m very pleased for Dan. He’s been away with Wales and missed a few games for us with a bad cold. Today, it was a very good performance by Dan.
Van de Beek is clearly being eased gently into the Premier League and, after scoring for the Netherlands against Italy in midweek, it was deemed best that he be introduced at a later stage at St James' Park.
“Donny will get his game time,” assured Ole.
“He’s in the group and training and is always neat and tidy. Today, I don’t think he lost it once. He had an impact. But it’s about finding the balance in the team.
”We won 4-1 today and you’re asking why I didn’t start one of the players. He can have a very big impact on the team and has done well again.