Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani in training

Ole: Signings give us different systems

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the club's new signings have given him more tactical options in 2020/21, compared to last season.

The Reds have already deployed Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani in first-team games, while youngster Facundo Pellistri has joined in with senior training, played for the Under-23s and is awaiting his first appearance for Ole’s side.

The new recruits have impressed on the pitch, and the boss explained in Friday’s pre-match press conference how they give him different ways of playing this season.

Watch Ole’s press conference in fullVideo

In particular, we’ve already seen this in the Champions League, with Alex Telles’s inclusion in the win over Paris Saint-Germain enabling a switch to three central defenders with wing-backs. Van de Beek played a pivotal role at the tip of a four-man midfield diamond on Wednesday, as United beat RB Leipzig 5-0.

As for Cavani, while the striker is still building up his fitness, we’ve already seen glimpses of his strength and aerial ability, and he will give Ole an alternative to the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, all of whom look to utilise their speed and trickery in the attacking areas.

Explaining how our tactics have evolved this season, Ole said:
“We’ve been searching for our fitness and form [in the opening weeks]. Good players can always play together.
“We have different players and different systems to play now. Last season, we put a lot of effort into our principles, the way we want to play. This season, we’ve added quality in the squad with Cavani, van de Beek and Telles. Paul [Pogba] is back fit, Marcus is back fit, so we’ve got more options.

“We’ve got more options tactically. If you want to play 4-3-3, a diamond, 3-4-3, 3-5-2… we’ve got more options. [As long as] there’s a balance in the team. You can’t play 10 forwards in a team, of course, you need balance and that’s what we need to find.

“You want competition for places,”
he added.
“You want the players to know that there’s someone who can take their place and you want players who can deal and cope with that pressure. You have to do that if you’re a part of Manchester United.”

Scout Report: ArsenalVideo

Ole was also asked ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal about the extremely competitive start to this season’s top flight.

“It’s very unpredictable,”
he told reporters via video link.
“It’s going to be difficult to predict and a very long season. It lasted until the end of July for most of the teams, for us it was almost the end of August, and we started again in the middle of September without a break.

“I talked about it, Pep [Guardiola] has talked about it, all the managers are talking about it. We have to look after the players, both physically and mentally.
“We have already seen some strange results, so I don’t want to predict how many points the winners are going to get. But it’s going to be tighter than in the last couple of seasons, definitely. There are quite a few teams below who have moved up and put a challenge up.

“I’ve just got to think about us and what we do. Last season we started really poorly. After nine games, we had two wins. We’ve got two wins now, so of course, we need to get more points on the board. In the first eight or nine games you don’t win the league, but you’ve got to make sure you haven’t lost the chance to challenge for the league.”


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