Manchester United will continue to alternate between playing Mason Greenwood on the right and up front after he started as the centre forward against Real Sociedad in the Europa League.
Greenwood, 19, played through the middle with Marcus Rashford on the left and Daniel James on the right and, ironically, the two wingers scored and Greenwood came off without a goal in the 4-0 thrashing.
Solskjaer said in midweek Greenwood could play in up to five different positions in attack and decided to play him as the number nine in Turin so United could exploit Sociedad’s full-backs with the pace of Rashford and James on the wing.
“Today was a decision made because, with Marcus and Dan, we felt the spaces behind the full-backs tonight were going to be important,” Solskjaer explained. “And Mason, to be through the middle, maybe dropping off, getting on the ball.
“So he’ll keep playing, sometimes up front, sometimes wide. We’ll find his position later on. He’ll probably need a year or two before he’s a full grown number nine.”
James has been restricted to 12 appearances in an underwhelming second season for United but has four goals in his last seven club games.
The 23-year-old was recalled to the right wing and struck just before added time to give United a more deserving margin of victory. Despite Solskjaer’s reluctance to use James in the Premier League, he insists the Welshman is still valued.
“Dan has always been in my mind and is always in contention,” Solskjaer stressed. “You can see his X-factor tonight: his pace, his work-rate, running in behind teams. And I think he’s scored in his last three or four appearances now.
“He’s working every single day on improving his game, so delighted for him and he knows how much we value him.”
United were dependent on Bruno Fernandes to break the deadlock once again after Rashford’s first-half profligacy and the Portuguese took his tally for the campaign to 21 goals with a brace.
Fernandes came off with seven minutes left and his last act was to berate Greenwood for not teeing him up for a shot at a hat-trick. Solskjaer felt that typifies Fernandes’ mentality.
“He always wants to do the next thing correctly and he wants to do the next thing to the best of his ability,” he said. “And that’s a very good attribute and quality to have, that you never rest on your laurels.
“If he scores two he wants three, if he has an assist, he wants another one. He drives everyone on. Sometimes he drives too much and does too much.
“Tonight he played his position well and was in the spaces we wanted from him and you can see how efficient he is.”