Speculation over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job has suddenly gone quiet.
Manchester United beat last season’s Champions League finalists in their backyard, for the second time.
This 2-1 victory over PSG was a complete performance, and the manager played his part. He certainly couldn’t do anything about Anthony Martial’s brain freeze when he headed a corner into his own net.
Marcus Rashford’s late winner gave United a fully deserved three points.
Here is a look at three decisions from Solskjaer which won United the game…
Paul Pogba was not selected to start, but he still had a telling impact on the game.
Solskjaer chose the perfect time to bring him on. PSG were beginning to take control of the game in the second half and United began to give the ball away cheaply.
Pogba came on and made an immediate difference, replacing Alex Telles as United shifted formation.
United took back control of the game, and Pogba’s creativity began to shine through. He had 27 touches in 24 minutes on the pitch.
He provided the assist for Rashford’s winner, one of two chances he created.
Solskjaer deserves credit for making the right call at the right moment, and Pogba delivered.
The right formation
United came into this game with a defensive headache, due to injuries to Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly.
Solskjaer chose to address this by playing a 3-4-1-2 formation, and it suited the players involved.
Luke Shaw joined a back three, as he has done before, while never playing in a two.
Axel Tuanzebe benefitted at first by having two defenders alongside him, in his first match of 2020.
The formation has been a success before, but the last time out it was unsuccessful, in the FA Cup semi-final. So Solskjaer was bold to return to it in a big game, and his gamble paid off.
Trusting his 2019 heroes
Unlike previous United sides, Solskjaer is spoilt for choice in central midfield.
Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba were his preferred players when everybody was fit last season, although both were dropped at the weekend.
Solskjaer kept Fred and Scott McTominay in the team, two players he knows he can trust in big games.
Both Fred and McTominay starred for United in Paris in 2019. Solskjaer remembered this, and put his trust in them again.
It was the right call, with the industrious nature of both players helping to limit PSG’s attacks, particularly Neymar’s attempts to drop deep and manipulate the play.
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