Solskjaer responds to question about formations

Wednesday 16 December 2020 14:25

In a press conference to preview Thursday’s match at Sheffield United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expressed confidence in his team's ability to adapt to different formations this season.

The shape of the Manchester United team is always fluid, particularly with our versatile players, which the manager was keen to point out when handling questions from journalists. Yet, according to the boss, it’s fair to say the general system this season has been 4-2-3-1. 

Solskjaer has deviated from that plan when the circumstances have required it, perhaps most successfully when beating last season’s Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain in France, where the manager opted to start three centre-backs with flying wing-backs.
Sheffield United away: Ole's press conference Video

Sheffield United away: Ole's press conference

Watch what the boss says about Dean Henderson, Slaven Bilic, Sander Berge and formations in his media briefing...

Ole has also utilised a ‘diamond’ in midfield on occasion and the best example was in the 5-0 win over RB Leipzig at Old Trafford, when the Reds produced an irresistible attacking performance. 

Of course, there have been games when a tweak has not paid dividends, but that is football and the manager highlighted that his team does not have any trouble adjusting to different strategies.

At the end of his press conference, one reporter asked: “Ole it was another slight change in shape against Man City. You’ve used a diamond formation, three at the back, four at the back. How do you feel your players are adjusting to the different styles they’re being asked to play in the side? Paul Pogba was on the left-hand side this time. He’s not really played there too much previously…

In response, Ole said: “Yeah, of a 4-2-3-1. Coming into that pocket is probably Paul’s favourite position. I think he did well. Paul did well and the team shape was as it normally is. 

“Twice we've played with three at the back – we beat PSG in one of them and unfortunately lost to Leipzig. We played a full game against Leipzig at home in a diamond and we’ve played two half games in a diamond. So four out of 20 games is not too bad of consistency with our normal shape. 

“That’s what we work on more or less every day. Some details will change within the same system, of course. If you have Dan James on the left wing compared to Paul Pogba it’s a different scenario. Or Marcus Rashford on the right wing compared to Juan Mata.

Access All Areas: United 0 City 0 Video

Access All Areas: United 0 City 0

This unmissable behind-the-scenes video tells the story of Saturday's derby, from inside Old Trafford...

“Sometimes you look at the opposition and you look at where we need players with different qualities, but I think they’re coping well with it.”

So, who will start against Sheffield United on Thursday? The line-ups will be officially announced at 19:00 GMT and you can receive that breaking news via our Official App and 

Behind-the-scenes at the Aon Training Complex:

  • Cavani steps up injury recovery


    The Uruguayan is pictured working hard in our latest training images, with Sheffield United away approaching.