Solskjaer explains why he picks McTominay and Fred so often

Scott McTominay and Fred’s near-constant presence at the heart of the Manchester United midfield is a real talking point among the fans.

That goes hand-in-hand with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preference for a 4-2-3-1 system, with both players protecting the back four.

At his press conference ahead of the Champions League clash with Villarreal, Solskjaer was asked why he picks the pair together so often.

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“First of all, the stats for those two together… we’ve had many, many good results,” said Solskjaer when asked why he plays the ‘McFred’ combination so often.


“The energy they give us. The way we broke up play against Villa, they were very, very instrumental together in that respect.

“Energy and desire and I really like to have the two of them. They’re 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 and harder to leave players out.”


Perhaps the most insightful thing Solskjaer said there was about the pair always giving their all.

Solskjaer inherited a United side which was inconsistent and set about getting rid of players he didn’t think had the right attitude.

United remain inconsistent to an extent, but Solskjaer seems to feel that his preferred central midfield duo will always offer a base level of energy and enthusiasm.

That’s true to a point, but there are many occasions when more quality and guile is needed from midfield, and Solskjaer chose not to address it during the summer.

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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.