MANCHESTER UNITED boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switching tactics in his last two games is a ‘bad sign’.
That’s according to journalist Duncan Castles, who thinks the Norwegian’s 4-4-2 setup was exploited in their 2-0 defeat away at Arsenal on Sunday.
The Gunners inflicted United’s first Premier League loss under Solskjaer at the Emirates.
Granit Xhaka fired Unai Emery’s side in front when his shot swerved past a bamboozled David De Gea and into the back of the net, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from the spot with 20 minutes remaining when Fred was deemed to have brought down Alexandre Lacazette inside the box.
And Castles feels Solskjaer’s failed tactics are a concern for United.
“I think it was 30 minutes in that Solskjaer decided to change shape to try and halt that”
“The 4-4-2 wasn’t as narrow this time, it was a bit more conventional,” he told The Transfer Window podcast. “But with Arsenal playing wing-backs as Paris St-Germain did, again there was a huge amount of space being exploited behind Manchester United’s right-back and most of Arsenal’s chances were coming from there.
“I think it was 30 minutes in that Solskjaer decided to change shape to try and halt that – and that’s a bad sign that you have two consecutive games when your starting system, when you’ve done your scouting on the opposition and you look at the way you expect them to play, you should have various provisions in place according to what they do and you are opened up by both teams and have to change shape so early on again.
“Again, people will say he has personnel issues therefore he’s been forced into these shapes. The personnel issues are in part down to the training and the way he’s been selecting players through his time at United and the way he’s getting them to play.
“He’s demanding they run more, he’s not been rotating the squad a lot.
“With the tightness now you have for those Champions League places, it could be important in whether Manchester United qualify for Europe from their league position and I think the next game for Manchester United will be important because that momentum of winning all your away games in the Premier League, a long domestic unbeaten run has gone and now we’ll have to see what the response will be.”
Solskjaer had guided United to 10 wins out of 12 in the Premier League since replacing Jose Mourinho in mid-December, drawing the other two.
The former striker insists Sunday’s defeat was his lowest moment as interim boss, but feels his side didn’t deserve to lose.
“We are disappointed with the result but looking at the performance, you cannot say it was a game we deserved to lose,” he said.
“We created five big chances, hit the woodwork twice.
“When you see the boys work as hard as they do, the attitude they show in training – today we were lethargic in the first 10-15 minutes, did not have the zip and we did not take the chances. Hopefully we will be ready for Wolves in the FA Cup next week.
“It has been fantastic so far but today is the the lowest we have been because we lost and missed the chance to put pressure on Spurs.
“We have won games we have not deserved to win, and today we lost a game we did not deserve to lose.”