Man Utd: Solskjaer previews Wolves clash
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been urged to change his tactics to ensure Manchester United can challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title. The Red Devils can move to within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s side when they host Wolves on Tuesday.
United have a game in hand over their fierce rivals, and recent results have led to talk of a title challenge with Solskjaer’s side unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches.
Five of those games have been victories – but while United have often been exhilarating in attack, their campaign so far has also been plagued by defensive deficiencies.
Solskjaer’s side have made a habit of coming from behind to win games – but they crashed out of the Champions League after a late fightback against RB Leipzig fell short earlier this month.
And former Red Devils striker Louis Saha says United must stop conceding “silly goals” if they are to mount a genuine title challenge.
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“I think Manchester United are title contenders this season,” said Saha, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Tottenham v Fulham.
“If not, then top three is a realistic target for them. If they can sustain the type of form they’re in at the moment then they will be right up there at the end of the season.
“But if they fall back into the kind of performances that saw them fall out of the Champions League where they’re conceding silly goals early on in games, then of course they’ll struggle.
“They can’t afford to do that. It’s impossible to be a Premier League contender, keeping up with the likes of Liverpool, if you keep going behind in games.
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“They have the quality to kill games, so it is frustrating when you see them concede early because it’s physically and mentally challenging to keep coming back.”
Saha says United are inviting pressure with their midfielders playing too deep.
And he has told his former team-mate Solskjaer he must play his side higher up the pitch to make their most of their devastating counter-attacking capability.
“I don’t like seeing this and it’s something I complain about a lot when it comes to Man United; I hate seeing the midfielders so close to the defenders,” Saha said. “I find myself getting so annoyed because you’re just inviting pressure.
“You see the midfield and the defence so close to each other, even against teams that you wouldn’t say are good enough to compete with United – so why are you giving them a chance by inviting pressure onto yourself?
“I don’t think it’s the right approach at all and it’s why they concede so many goals.
“A team like Man United should be applying pressure higher up the field. They certainly have the capacity to close down and recover the ball higher up the field where their attackers can exploit defences much quicker.”
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With the January transfer window opening next week, Saha also believes United should sign a top-class centre-half.
He said: “I think it’s been clear to see this season that there is strength in depth in terms of creativity in the Man United squad, because they brought in Donny van de Beek who can’t get a game at the moment.
“So I feel like if there is one area of the pitch in which they could strengthen, it would have to be in defence. They need someone else to challenge Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire for places.”
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