When Anthony Martial was ruled out of Manchester United’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur, some Reds wondered if a change of formation was coming. Instead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer maintained consistent and was brave enough to secure a 2-1 win for his side.
It was a match where Solskjaer was under an enormous amount of pressure. His predecessor Mourinho returned to Old Trafford and he faced a side that has just sacked Mauricio Pochettino, the favourite to replace Solskjaer at United.
Solskjaer brings in Greenwood after Martial injury
Martial’s injury led to the inclusion of Mason Greenwood in the United side. But more importantly than that, Solskjaer kept Marcus Rashford on the left-wing. He ran riot.
When Martial was injured earlier this season, Rashford was shifted into the centre. His performances were inconsistent and underwhelming, though he remained the club’s most regular scoring. Martial’s return, against Norwich in October, heralded the return of Rashford to the left flank. He’s been so effective and a leader for United’s side.
Greenwood played well in the centre against Spurs. His pressure was constant against the Tottenham defence and he combined well with his back to goal. In midfield, Solskjaer stuck with the same system as against Villa but brought Scott McTominay in for Andreas Pereira. Lingard replaced Mata in the number 10 role. It worked well. It was the kind of game management that got Solskjaer the job.
Solskjaer hasn’t been brave enough in recent months
There were still some problems with United’s play. They weren’t clinical enough and the goal that Spurs scored was a result of poor defending. But Solskjaer made a brave decision to start an 18-year-old upfront.
Rashford reaped the rewards of that and so did United.
Far too often in recent months, Solskjaer has shied away from tough decisions and stuck with the players who have let him down. That wasn’t the case this time and it paid off.
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