Solskjaer admits he may have made error overplaying Fernandes and praises Van de Beek
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he does not get every call right.
In an interview with ESPN, Solskjaer highlighted one error he feels he made with retrospect over star player Bruno Fernandes.
Solskjaer says he played Fernandes too frequently and this caught up with him in the latter half of the season.
The United boss said: “We need to arrive in April and May with players fresh. We need players with that X factor who can make a difference. Bruno [Fernandes] last year for example, maybe I overplayed him but it was because he was so important for us.
“Adding these extra players — Jesse [Lingard] coming back, Jadon [Sancho] coming in, Anthony [Martial] being fit again — gives us a lot more to work with.”
If Lingard stays, which will remain questionable right up until the transfer deadline, then he will help Solskjaer avoid overplaying Fernandes, as will Juan Mata.
Donny van de Beek will also play a role in this regard, as will Paul Pogba if United end up playing a more flat 4-3-3 as opposed to a 4-2-3-1.
Young players like Hannibal and Shola Shoretire will also be players Solskjaer can mix in when the time is right, either in cup games or against lesser opposition.
Last season against Real Sociedad even with United 4-0 up from the first leg, Solskjaer still started Fernandes at Old Trafford, a confounding decision which spoke volumes of the manager’s reliance on the club’s top scorer.
Solskjaer was always reluctant to take Fernandes off too, which highlighted his lack of faith in other options. Now, with Lingard having proven himself out on loan, Solskjaer has to use him if he keeps him.
Encouraged by Van de Beek
Donny van de Beek appears to have returned to United with a point to prove and Solskjaer believes he can have a strong second season.
Solskjaer said of the Dutchman: “He’s put on a bit of muscle, yeah. He had last season to learn about English football, and he’s used the summer well.
“You never know how players from abroad [are going to] come in — some players need a year. You see Fred’s development and evolution and there are other players that just come in and take to it straight away; it depends.”
Solskjaer is right to reference Fred’s first season, a similarly difficult and forgettable one which saw him written off by pundits. He has bounced back as a regular and Van de Beek has a chance to do the same.
His manager is clearly impressed by his attitude and commitment ahead of the new season, and Van de Beek will get chances, which ties into his previous pledge not to overplay Fernandes.
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