Five urgent questions after United's worst display under Solskjaer in 16 months
Manchester United’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham was the heaviest suffered under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management at the club.
It is right up there with the 4-0 loss to Everton in April 2019 in terms of the worst performance.
With the transfer deadline over, we can return focus to the woeful performance served up by United.
Here are five key questions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to look at…
What is United’s best defensive partnership?
United have a big dilemma at centre-back. Harry Maguire has been undroppable, but perhaps this needs to change.
Eric Bailly came in to replace Victor Lindelof, and the partnership did not work. This might have been the wrong match to make that change.
United will probably revert to the Maguire and Lindelof partnership, but Bailly and Lindelof is an option too.
Axel Tuanzebe’s return to fitness [Telegraph] opens up the competition for places further.
Should Solskjaer abandon playing out from the back?
Is the problem the players, or the coaching? United were undone by Tottenham in part due to an inability to play the ball out of defence.
Opponents have had success pressing United in their own half, going back to the Southampton game in July.
With United’s defenders not playing well, it should be a priority to get the ball upfield as quickly as possible, and a more route one approach be considered.
Solskjaer may not want to change his tactics, but it could be time. He must evolve, especially if opposing managers are figuring United out.
Would a goalkeeper change help?
United do have an option to change the goalkeeper and bring in Dean Henderson, who has two clean sheets this season in the Carabao Cup.
David de Gea has not done much wrong this season, but he has conceded 11 goals. Tottenham’s fourth he could have done better for, beaten at his near post.
Bringing in a confident Henderson could have a galvanising impact on the defence.
Tough moments call for tough decisions, and Solskjaer has a big call to make.
Is it time to drop Paul Pogba?
‘Will Paul Pogba ever be the player we want him to be?’ is a deeper question over the out of form Frenchman.
Pogba was one of United’s worst players against Tottenham and he has no automatic right to walk back into the starting line up.
United have Donny van de Beek ready to step in for him, while Fred and Scott McTominay are pushing for game time too.
United have options in midfield and Pogba is just one of many. He must earn his place in the team now.
Can Rashford and Greenwood help the full-backs out?
The MEN reported that Spurs targeted United’s full-backs because Jose Mourinho doubted whether Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood would help them out defensively.
Opposing bosses will likely try to replicate this, and Rashford and Greenwood will both have to work harder not to leave the full-backs isolated.
This is a tactical conundrum for Solskjaer to try to solve too, but the attackers must put in the work too.
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