Dan James became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing at Manchester United last summer. After a tremendous opening month to start the season, the Welshman has found it tough going.
At times he has looked tired and being played out of position up front like he was against Chelsea has not helped.
He sat out against Club Brugge in midweek and was back in the starting line up at Old Trafford on Sunday, picked out wide as United went back to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Solskjaer was impressed with his performance, telling the club website he believed James played very well.
He said: “He’s had a couple of games where he’s not played. He’s had a breaknow and we want him on the touchline; taking people on, running in behind, mixing up his football and today was Dan, more or less, at his best.”
Motivation and support
To a fan, Solskjaer’s comments are a little underwhelming. Shouldn’t James be held to a higher standard than yesterday’s performance being ‘his best’.
It was a poor choice of words from the manager, but you have to really look at what’s behind them.
Solskjaer is trying to motivate the youngster and praise him when he does well. Former boss Jose Mourinho did the opposite and is continuing to display poor man-management over at Tottenham.
Despite James’ drop off in form in 2020 until now, he still leads United in assists with six.
It was James’ defence splitting pass to Bruno Fernandes which led to the Portuguese star winning the penalty for United’s opener.
James didn’t break his goalless streak, but he did have a positive impact on the game with his pass for Fernandes.
He featured for the full 90 minutes, attempting four shots, of which only one landed on target.
There is a lot of room for improvement, which makes Solskjaer’s comments odd. But if it lifts James’ confidence and helps him improve and play an important role in upcoming games then the manager will have done his job.
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