Manchester United manager Solskjaer must be true to his word after transfers U turn

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has performed a U-turn over the squad depth at Man Utd but his faith in those players will be tested this month. Ole Gu...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has performed a U-turn over the squad depth at Man Utd but his faith in those players will be tested this month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be relieved at seeing the newly discovered depth in his Manchester United squad ahead of what could be a defining month of the season.

United begin October with a Premier League game against Tottenham on Sunday and before the international break in November they will play Newcastle, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton in the Premier League and Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and FC Midtjylland in the Champions League.

With United having also booked their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals they will play twice a week for the remainder of the calendar year. That is a schedule that will test Solskjaer's faith in his fringe players, especially as the faith was lacking less than two months ago when the first XI were directed to the well again and again in lieu of any suitable alternatives.

On August 17 Solskjaer pressed his case for needing more depth in his squad ahead of a 2020/21 season that was going to rewrite the definition of fixture congestion.

"We need to strengthen the squad depth because it's going to be a long season," he said. "We're going to keep pushing and keep demanding more of the players that we have, but still, we're looking to improve and it's a strange one. The league starts very quickly, but then the [transfer] market is open for so long. So we've got to be both good, smart and clever."

When he faced the press on Friday morning Solskjaer was now stressing he was happy with his squad. He was unlikely to demand depth on this occasion, with the window closing on Monday, but the Norwegian sounded pleased with what he'd seen in Carabao Cup wins at Luton and Brighton.

"Of course, the performances last season didn't warrant me giving too many of them more options," said Solskjaer. "I think the 11, 12, 13 players that really played and really played well deserved to play more and that means when you don't play you don't get the fitness and sharpness you need to knock on the door to get into the team.

"I think it's a different scenario now already after two games. I've seen many of the other players who didn't play too much last season play really well."

Some of those fringe players have played well at Kenilworth Road and the Amex Stadium, but the obvious caveat here is that they've beaten players who don't regularly get in the Luton or Brighton teams either. The real test of their ability to perform on bigger stages in bigger games will come before the year is out.

Solskjaer's faith in his squad players comes with United having made just one signing this summer, in the impressive Donny van de Beek. He's right to point out that the regular starting XI performed well after the season restarted in June, but they had tired towards the end of the Premier League season and in the Europa League in Germany there was little faith then in the options from the bench.

That same starting XI was reunited against Brighton in the Premier League last weekend. Right now only Eric Bailly and Van de Beek look like squad players who could be brought in without the standard dropping.

Solskjaer was right and wrong to say in August that this was going to be a long season. Long in terms of the demands on the players, short in terms of the timeframe to get all those games in.

He can't push his preferred XI into every one of United's Premier League and Champions League games over the next month and still expect them to be performing in April and May.

Instead, changes are a must. Solskjaer's faith in his squad will be tested sooner rather than later.

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 1
  1. Ole has to believe much on his players, and those being kept for a long time on bench.

    ReplyDelete
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