Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was reluctant to say whether he had settled on Manchester United’s tactical identity following their 3-1 FA Cup victory at Arsenal.
For the second away game running, Solskjaer selected Jesse Lingard in the striker’s role in a 4-3-3 formation, only Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were rested at the expense of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku assisted Sanchez’s 31st minute opener and created Lingard’s winner two minutes later.
Solskjaer opted for the same tactic in United’s spirited win at Spurs two weeks ago when Lingard was flanked by Martial and matchwinner Rashford. United prepared for that match with a five-day warm weather training camp in Dubai, where Solskjaer also prepared the United players for the February visits of Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.
PSG face United at Old Trafford on February 12 in the Champions League round-of-16 first leg and United host Liverpool on February 24 in their two high-profile contests next month. Although Solskjaer has claimed two Premier League top six scalps this month in Arsenal and Tottenham, he had no intention of clarifying whether he would use the Lingard tactic against Liverpool and PSG.
“I’m not going to give that information now, am I!” Solskjaer laughed. “It depends on who’s fit at the moment and what we believe is the right thing.
“Coming here, we thought long and hard about it but we worked quite well during the week and it worked. It’s something that we can change but then we had to change a little bit because [Sead] Kolasinac came up through that left-hand side quite often. Ash did fantastic defending with Ander [Herrera] and Jesse over to the right will also help us at times.”
Before the PSG visit, United entertain Burnley on Tuesday and travel to Leicester next Sunday and Fulham on February 9. If United win their next three games Solskjaer will have equalled Sir Alex Ferguson’s 11-match winning streak of 2009.