Manchester United’s new caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has brought in Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw in a total of four changes following the defeat to Liverpool as the Norwegian looks to hit the ground running in his first game in charge of the Reds against former club Cardiff in South Wales.
Solskjaer, who impressed during two separate spells in his homeland with Molde, was appointed United caretaker boss on Wednesday. He and the returning Mike Phelan haven’t had long to assess the squad’s fitness ahead of a busy set of Christmas fixtures, but with the support of assistants Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, Solskjaer has freshened up the United starting XI.
Phil Jones comes in for Eric Bailly, whilst Shaw returns to the XI in place of Matteo Darmian. Pogba comes into the midfield as Diogo Dalot drops to the bench and Ashley Young switches to right-back.
It’s a pacey looking front three with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard joined by the returning Anthony Martial, who starts in place of Romelu Lukaku who is not in the matchday squad.
Cardiff have made just one change to their squad with Greg Cunningham replacing the injured Joe Bennett.
Solskjaer has spoken about his team selection and has touched on a number of points, including the threat Cardiff will pose.
“Of course Michael and Kieran have been here for the whole season so we've conferred with them, but I've watched quite a few games and I had my idea on what I would want my Man United team to look like. That's what you do as a fan.”
Pogba returns to the XI today and Solskjaer touched on the United midfielder, adding:
“I've worked with Paul before. We all know what kind of player he is and how good a player he is when he is on form and why not [play him] as quickly as possible because he'll make a difference for us.”
On Cardiff, Solskjaer said:
“They'll give us challenges and test us in the box. They've got three wins on the bounce now, four out of the last five games. I know all about the crowd, the energy and the enthusiasm of the players and the crowd. So we need to stand up for ourselves in the first 15/20 minutes and then get the ball down and start playing and stick our heads in when the crosses come in.”
Cardiff: Etheridge; Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Cunningham; Hoilett, Gunnarsson, Camarasa, Arter, Murphy; Paterson.
Substitutes: Smithies, Peltier, Mendez-Laing, Ralls, Harris, Zohore, Reid.
United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof; Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Substitutes: Romero, Bailly, Dalot, Fellaini, Fred, A. Pereira, Mata.
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