Solskjaer backs midfield pairing

Tuesday 28 September 2021 14:20

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reiterated the trust he has in midfield pair Fred and Scott McTominay.

The duo have often been relied upon to start big games together, with a number of Manchester derby-winning performances catching the eye since Fred joined the club in the summer of 2018.

McTominay missed three weeks of this campaign with injury but Solskjaer has turned to his preferred midfield pivot in half of United’s league games so far, including Saturday’s disappointing home defeat to Aston Villa.

“First of all, the stats for them two together, we've had many, many good results,” Solskjaer told reporters, in reply to a question about why the pair are his favoured option in the middle of the park.

“The energy they give us, the way we broke up play against Villa. I think they’re very, very instrumental together in that respect. Energy and desire.

“I really like to have the two of them. There's two I can trust that will always, always give you what they've got.

“Fans will always have an opinion on any team selection when you’ve got good players like me. It’s easy to say who should be playing, but it’s harder to leave players out.”

Solskjaer also addressed some of the concerns surrounding Saturday’s performance, which have been voiced by pundits.

The boss said that, although he was happy with his side in some respects, he wanted to see a greater balance between quick attacks and control while in possession.

“The Aston Villa game, we broke up play really well defensively, maybe attacked too fast. We want fast attacking play. Gary [Neville] knows that and everyone that has been associated with Man United know we want to keep the tempo up and attack quickly when we can.

“Maybe we did it too fast because if you look at the stats, I don’t think I’ve seen any games with less efficient playing time.

Press Conference: Villarreal (H) Video

Press Conference: Villarreal (H)

See Ole Gunnar Solskjaer field questions from journalists ahead of the Villarreal encounter...

“Forty-five minutes effective playing time the ref gave us, probably one of the lowest I’ve seen. Normally you’re at 55 or 60 but that’s maybe because we finished the attacks too quickly. Same with Villa, they did.

“[We need] More control. If you slow it down too much, it might be against a low block again defending. We know Villarreal will definitely defend well.

“We need to play quickly. Gary knows the DNA here at the club and what we are trying to do.”