Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have more tactical flexibility with their new signings.
United acquired Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo in the summer transfer window and Van de Beek and Telles have already made positive impressions.
Van de Beek is yet to start in the Premier League or Champions League but the Dutchman has come on to influence three of United’s four Premier League games and Telles excelled on his debut against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek. Axel Tuanzebe’s first outing in 10 months complemented United’s successful back three tactic in the win over PSG.
Cavani, 33, could make his United bow against Chelsea on Saturday and Pellistri, 18, played for the Under-23s on Friday night. Fellow 18-year-old Diallo is due to join the United squad in January from Atalanta.
“I think as a coach you want a foundation to play from and the players want to have a consistency in instructions,” Solskjaer said. “So we are a little bit ahead of the next situaiton.
“But with the players we have now sometimes we can swap and change a little bit. We felt with the injuries we had and the opposition we met, that was the right way of going [against PSG].
“We had a debut for Alex, Axel [Tuanzebe] was back again, so we didn’t think twice about that really. And it gives us flexibility. There might be times later on in the season that we play this again, or now, or back to the back four again. With the signings we’ve made we’ve got more options.”
Despite losing two of their first four league games United have not been cut adrift in a madcap start to the domestic season. Leaders Everton and second-placed Aston Villa are the only unbeaten teams and, although Everton are seven points ahead of United, Solskjaer’s side have a game in hand.
The likelihood of an open title race increased with the long-term absence of Liverpool linchpin Virgil van Dijk but Solskjaer refused to get carried away amid the possibility of United emerging as dark horses.
“The league this season has started strangely,” Solskjaer noted. “It is a very, very strange atmosphere within the stadiums. It’s not the same, it’s not like it used to be, without the fans it’s more sterile. After the win against PSG, you feel it’s almost like you’ve been to the training ground and done well in training. The edge is missing.
“For me now, we need consistency. We’ve been too much up and down. We need to address our home form. The next week is a great test for us because we all remember what happened after the last time we beat PSG. The response wasn’t the greatest, was it?
“This week is a chance for our players – and also as a staff – to show that we’ve moved on from that time.”