Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can learn an important lesson from Manchester United’s win over Real Sociedad.
For United ‘s penultimate Europa League fixture against the Spanish side in the Round of 32, the Norweigan approached the first leg of the fixture away from home with great respect, naming virtually his strongest starting XI.
With the exception of the omissions of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial from the starting lineup – the Frenchman would later enter the field as a substitute – United were almost at full strength and the team selection paid dividends.
The Reds ran riot at the Allianz Arena, scoring four goals with no reply, with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James all playing their part in an emphatic win which essentially killed the tie off with one ruthless blow.
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When factoring in the away goal rule, that 4-0 win away from home against Real Sociedad ensured the second leg at Old Trafford was a dead rubber game and United could consequently afford to involve Shola Shoretire and Brandon Williams.
So, does Solskjaer adopt the same approach with his team selection against Granada in the quarter-finals, especially with Sunday’s crucial Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur in mind?
Games of such magnitude and importance are rarely won by wide margins, but United have the quality to assert their dominance over the hosts from the first whistle if they desire – Granada have conceded the most goals (49) in La Liga this season.
Granada’s progression to this stage of the tournament has been remarkable, although their poor defensive record will surely encourage Solskjaer to name an attacking starting lineup on Thursday evening.
It might not be that straightforward, though, as Solskjaer could have one eye on United’s game against Spurs on the weekend when evaluating how best to consolidate their top-four position in the Premier League.