Opposition view: Doubts over Solskjaer’s tactical skills persist for United fans

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:22 11 January 2020

Anthony Martial in action against Norwich City earlier this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Anthony Martial in action against Norwich City earlier this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Manchester United supporters Neil Featherby and Craig Featherby give the lowdown on the Red Devils ahead of City’s trip to Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesManchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Can United make top four?

Neil: No, not as things stand. We need to make signings in some key positions to stand any chance of that. Lots of talk of certain players coming in, but I am not holding my breath.

Craig: We are not going to make the top four without signings this month and even then it is still a big task.

Boardroom or dressing room - where's the problem at Old Trafford?

NF: Both, although I would suggest that the biggest issue is with those in the boardroom. I think most fans would agree with that Ole is taking a lot of flack, being called a puppet and so on, but as yet he hasn't come out and blamed any failings on the board in the same way as what Jose Mourinho did or indeed what any other top manager would likely do if in the same position.

CF: The problem is clearly in the boardroom with the Glazers and Ed Woodward seemingly making decisions that prioritise the finances of the club irrespective of how it might effect that of the football which is taking place on the pitch. Not that they are qualified to make any footballing decisions, but whereas for them they are running Utd as a business, for the fan, all we care about is the football.

David Gill was just as much of a loss as Fergie. A Director of Football with experience is most certainly required just as they have at all the biggest club sides in Europe, such as at Bayern, Barca and both the Milan sides.

Is Solskjaer still the man to turn things round?

Harry Maguire could be a big miss for Manchester United when they take on Norwich City. Picture: PAHarry Maguire could be a big miss for Manchester United when they take on Norwich City. Picture: PA

NF: Ole is a hero for which no one wants to disrespect him. However, he is rather limited when it comes to squad selection of top class experienced players who are still in their peak playing years. When he first came in, everyone loved it saying he was playing the Man Utd way after Mourinho and Louis Van Gaal, but it really did not take long for everyone to suss out exactly what the tactics were going to be. Talking of which he also seems a little limited on this front too especially when it comes to having to change tactics.

CF: Solskjaer has made the right decisions when it comes to signings and which players he has let go albeit perhaps a couple which he didn't have much say over. Tactically there are question marks, but with one of the youngest squads in the league which is also lacking in depth, then inconsistency has to be expected. Pochettino is without doubt a better tactician, but I can't see anyone succeeding under the board we've got.

Marcus Rashford aside, who's the dangerman for United?

NF: Anthony Martial and possibly Dan James if the game develops in a way which perfectly suits his strengths i.e. quick attacks and his lightning pace. I also think Mason Greenwood has a big future, but needless to say it will all come down to whoever Ole starts with.

CF: Martial is the most dangerous attacker we have. He is the most composed finisher in the squad and when you look at the win percentage in games, it is much higher when he is in the side.

Anyone that worries you in the Norwich side?

NF: Yes of course. Needless to say Teemu Pukki, especially if we start with the same two centre backs as we did against Man City in the Carabao Cup semi-final the other night. The first 20 minutes will be important for both sides. If Norwich start well, I can see them growing in confidence. Needless to say that could also be their downfall if they take the game to United, but if they can get an early goal, then Daniel Farke, is a very good coach for which he will plan accordingly.

CF: Buendia is the best footballer Norwich have when it comes to technical ability and they will do well to keep him after this season. Brilliant bit of scouting to pick him up so cheaply.

What's your prediction for Saturday and why?

NF: I can see both teams leaking goals. Needless to say it will come down to who start for Utd especially at the back what with Harry Maguire now seemingly being out for several weeks. I am going to go for a 2-2 draw.

CF: I expect a United win. Purely for the reason that Norwich's defence is too weak to handle United's attack. Norwich will probably score due to United's defensive frailties, but 3-1 is the scoreline I predict which is the same as the reverse fixture at Carrow Road.

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