Has Ole found his midfield fix? Arsene Wenger believes under-fire Solskjaer may have a solution to team’s balance issues – and tips Fred, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to face Liverpool together
- Manchester United fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Atalanta
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side are enduring a period of inconsistent form
- But Arsene Wenger was impressed with United’s midfield in the second half
Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have stumbled across a solution to his midfield conundrum in the 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta.
Solskjaer started with a midfield base of Scott McTominay and Fred and benched Paul Pogba but United endured a disastrous first half and fell 2-0 down to the Serie A side.
Pogba entered the fray for McTominay in the 66th minute with United trailing 2-1 and Wenger was impressed by what he saw in the midfield trio of Fred, Bruno Fernandes and the France international.
Arsene Wenger was impressed by Manchester United’s second half midfield against Atalanta
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes helped United fight back to defeat the Italian side 3-2
Speaking as a pundit on beIN SPORTS, former Arsenal boss Wenger said: ‘Pogba, I thought, did well. Pogba gave them more power out from deep in midfield by creating more dangerous balls.
‘And when Pogba came on Fernandes became better. Fernandes had a poor first half, but in the second half he came alive as well.’
And regarding Fred’s contribution, Wenger added: ‘I would personally highlight the second half for Fred.
‘Fred saved a few crosses in the box, defensively outstanding and he worked unbelievably hard in the second half.’
Wenger’s comments come as United boss Solskjaer is facing growing scrutiny over his position as manager.
Wednesday’s victory was yet another dramatic comeback with Ronaldo getting United out of jail, but Solskjaer’s side are winless in three Premier League matches.
Fred also produced an encouraging second half display to help United record a victory
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates taking the three points after the final whistle
They host second-place Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, knowing a defeat would leave them seven points behind Jurgen Klopp’s side after only nine league games.
But the United boss is in optimistic mood after the Champions League win, saying: ‘Tonight was a massive result.
‘We got off to a slow start with the Young Boys game and, if we’re being honest, the red card has changed the game so that was disappointing.
‘We didn’t play well against Villarreal, but we got the three points and dug in and I think tonight was a special night in terms of the togetherness, the spirit, the fight that we showed in the second half to keep believing and to keep pushing.’
They will take on a Liverpool side spearheaded by Mohamed Salah who is in the form of his life, with some even saying he is currently the best player in the world.
United legend Paul Scholes didn’t share Solskjaer’s optimism and said he felt fearful of his old club coming up against a better side if they replicate the standard of their display against Atalanta.
And Scholes felt starting with two midfielders was an error on Solskjaer’s behalf.
Paul Scholes fears United would get punished against Liverpool – who they face next
Scholes was unimpressed by United’s starting midfield two of Scott McTominay (left) and Fred
‘You celebrate every win, the first half really worried me, people say I am miserable, but I looked at that game thinking about Liverpool at the weekend and playing Manchester City [on November 6],’ Scholes said. ‘If you play two central midfielders against them, it’ll be three or four-nil and you aren’t coming back’
‘It was great seeing all the shooting and crosses in second half, but that first half worried me. They showed great spirit but they conceded so many chances, quality players make sure you don’t win that game.
‘Will they play that well against Liverpool? Imagine Jurgen Klopp at home rubbing his hands together watching that first half.’