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Unread 14-01-2019, 11:00 AM
fred tissue
 
Default Ole Gunnar Solskjær shows there is substance behind the smiles

Victory over Spurs not only extended the Norwegian’s perfect start as Manchester United’s caretaker manager but also demonstrated his ability to do the job long-termHe could smile, be gracious, look pleased to be there and deliver the letter U in a pleasing Scandi-Manc. He could make some of the best footballers in the world seem happy to be paid million of pounds a year to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world – a feat of psychological alchemy quite beyond his predecessor. But could Ole Gunnar Solskjær do it on a chilly Sunday evening in January, against one of the Premier League’s sharper tactical minds? It turns out, just about, that he could.

When Tottenham play as they started on Sunday, with a midfield diamond, there is a vulnerability wide, behind the full-backs. Solskjær exploited that, setting Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to peel wide and attack those areas, which meant Jesse Lingard effectively ended up as a false nine between them. Few teams go to Wembley and take on Tottenham with two up front, the result of which was the two centre-backs, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, repeatedly finding themselves two-on-two, a situation in which few modern defenders are comfortable.

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