Manchester United’s win over Atalanta was a testing 90 minutes for every fan to watch.
You can only imagine what the nerves in the dugout were like.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was under pressure coming into the game and the fans deservedly booed the players off at half-time.
United eventually gave us a result to be positive about. So let’s be positive, and look at the key actions Solskjaer did make to help his team turn the game around.
Solskjaer motivated his players at half-time
The players looked agitated during the first half, getting frustrated with one another as they missed chances and missed passes, while defending terribly.
Half-time could have been the moment this team imploded. They were well on the way.
Instead whatever Solskjaer said at half-time worked. Whether he shouted at the players or gave them the silent treatment and asked they to stay calm, it worked. The players responded to him well and showed they are still playing for him.
From the first ball in the second half, United came out like a different team.
Solskjaer used his bench well
Remember the horrible defeat to Young Boys? Solskjaer made a litany of substitution errors.
This time Solskjaer got it right. He did not panic and make changes at half-time.
He sent on Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani with the score at 2-1, waiting for the perfect moment to take further control of the game.
Jadon Sancho also had a positive effect too, and Nemanja Matic came on to close the game out late on.
Solskjaer had plenty of attacking options on his bench and he used them well.
Solskjaer took the right players off
Part of the key for Solskjaer was keeping the balance right when he made his changes.
Solskjaer broke up the McTominay and Fred partnership to bring Pogba on. He could alternatively have taken Rashford off for Pogba and left McTominay on.
His changes allowed him to get Cavani into the mix too, while still keeping Ronaldo on.
Mason Greenwood had a disappointing game. Solskjaer made the right call to take him off to squeeze Sancho in.
Getting the balance can be tough, and Solskjaer can’t always keep everybody happy. But in this game he made the right calls in the end.
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