Three questions for Solskjaer ahead of facing Newcastle

It has felt like a long international break with Manchester United’s 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham hanging over the club.

Ideally, United would have had another match swiftly on the horizon to get the Spurs debacle out of the players’ systems, but that’s not been the case.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men finally get back in action on Saturday night, with a trip to face Newcastle.

We’ve picked out three questions Solskjaer needs answers to before facing the Magpies.

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Should Solskjaer drop Maguire?

United captain Harry Maguire was sent off in the first half of England’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Wednesday.

Following on from his performance against Spurs, he just looks out of sorts.

The decision for Solskjaer is whether to keep playing his captain through his rough patch or take him out of the limelight for a little while.

It’s a huge call. Maguire looked bereft and exhausted as he trudged off the Wembley pitch, a man in need of a break.

United do have numbers at centre half who could replace him, but their quality and reliability are the major issues.

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Does Solskjaer shake the team up?

We pretty much know Solskjaer’s favourite team by now. It was established at the end of last season and that has carried on into 2020/21.

But after such a poor performance last time out, Solskjaer must be tempted to shake things up.

He will already be forced into one change, because Anthony Martial is suspended.

Will he move Mason Greenwood or Marcus Rashford up front, or plump for Odion Ighalo?

Elsewhere, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata have staked their claims for Premier League gametime in the EFL Cup. The former netted in the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw in Italy on Wednesday.

Solskjaer has to get a reaction from his players and many will feel a shakeup is needed.

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Telles or Shaw?

Alex Telles signed on deadline day and given the need for defensive improvement, there’s a case for throwing him in from the off against Newcastle.

The Brazilian can offer greater attacking thrust than Luke Shaw, who has started the season poorly.

But given Telles hasn’t trained with his new team-mates yet, and is coming off the back of an international trip to Peru with Brazil, Solskjaer has a decision to make.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stick with Shaw in those circumstances, but the Englishman needs a big performance, now he’s under pressure from Telles.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.