EXPLAINED: How Solskjaer Tweaked His Tactics To Beat Pochettino’s Spurs

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the match as Mauricio Pochettino looks on.

REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Doubts had lingered over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s capabilities despite the Norwegian tactician’s men picking up five wins in their first five games under his management.

However, Manchester United‘s interim boss managed to silence a lot of his doubters through Sunday’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur away at Wembley, which he achieved by tweaking his tactics to target the Londoners’ weakness.

Solskjaer’s preferred attacking trio of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard started the game against Spurs, albeit in a new formation.

The previous games saw Rashford play through the middle, with Martial and Lingard occupying the wide areas. But against Spurs, Lingard was fielded in a central, deeper role, which gave Martial and Rashford some extra freedom on the wings.


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Solskjaer confirmed as much in his post-match interview, as he revealed: “The plan was to go quickly and attack with pace. We worked on it for a week, we thought it would work and we have seen them and we thought it was going to be a good plan.

“The goal showed the plan worked, that’s why we put Anthony and Rash wide of Jesse, he can drop in then he is more of a link player, Rash and Anthony they are more direct towards goal and that’s why we had that plan and it worked today.”


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Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville heaped further praise onto his former teammate through his post-match analysis.

The decorated right-back stated: “It reminded me so much of the Liverpool game earlier in the season when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane got in down the sides of the Tottenham centre-backs.

“It looked to me like Solskjaer had watched that game and thought that’s where I can hurt them. It was clever. He proved in that first-half that he can live in a big game against a big manager and a big team.”