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Europa League 2019-20: 5 tactics from Solskjaer that won Manchester United the game against FC Astana

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stuck to the basics well, which helped United win the game.
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:32 IST

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

As the referee blew the whistle at the end of the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had quite a few reasons to be happy.

The Norwegian had arrived at the game with at least four of his first-team stars missing due to injury; Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Daniel James were all out of the first group stage game of the UEFA Europa League.

The Red Devils had failed to impress since their 4-0 opening day victory over Chelsea, and had scraped past Leicester City the previous weekend to get their first win in four games. Solskjaer would have been desperate to maintain the momentum but had to make wholesale changes to his team, keeping in mind Sunday’s trip to face West Ham.

Solskjaer started with Sergio Romero in goal, while Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcos Rojo made up the back four. In the midfield, the Norwegian opted for Fred alongside Nemanja Matic, who was also the skipper for the night, while Angel Gomes operated in the No. 10 role. The front three consisted of Tahith Chong, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood

Despite starting the game very well, United failed to find a breakthrough in the first half. However, Greenwood scored the winner after the break and helped United start the UEFA Europa League on a high.

Here is a look at five tactics from Solskjaer that won the game.

#5 Team selection

Manchester United v FK Astana: Group L - UEFA Europa League
Manchester United v FK Astana: Group L - UEFA Europa League

Solskjaer had a selection dilemma ahead of the game. Apart from the fact that he was missing several of his key players, the Norwegian also had to ensure that he had his first team fit and ready for the weekend’s game against West Ham United.


As such, he made nine changes to the team that won against Leicester City - and he was spot on with those changes.

The center-back pairing of Jones and Tuanzebe did the job well, with the latter in particular impressing on the night. Dalot and Rojo were tireless throughout, lighting up the wings. The midfield duo of Fred and Matic stayed in control, while the front four gave Astana all sorts of trouble.

By getting his team selection right, the Norwegian won half the battle before the first kick of the game.

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Published 20 Sep 2019, 08:38 IST
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