Manchester United went through to the Carabao cup quarterfinal with a 2-1 away win against Chelsea. It was Manchester United’s 3rd away win in a row. Marcus Rashford was the hero of the night as he scored a brace that included a 35 yard belter from a free kick. United next face Colchester United in the Quarter Final of the Carabao Cup.
These 3 wins has bought in some much needed positivity into the fanbase. Manchester United had a dreadful start to the season with the club lingering in 12th during the International break. But, post the international break, Manchester United have had a turnaround of sorts.
Draw against Liverpool at home on the 20th with a depleted squad bought in some much needed confidence. 3 wins in a row have followed. That too away from home. United had not won away from home since that famous night in Paris on March 7th. A welcome win against Partizan, albeit, with a bit of luck was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Then wins against Norwich and now Chelsea has put Manchester United in a very good place to start a run similar to the run they put together earlier this year.
United were ruthless in that period. They kept rolling over teams mercilessly. All of this culminated in that famous win against Paris Saint Germain.
How do United sustain the form?
Undoubtedly, this has been the best week as the permanent manager of Manchester United for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Unbeaten in 4 games, 3 tough away wins in a row. This has certainly raised the shadow that cast over Solskjaer’s future at least for the time being.
What Ole has to try and do now is to sustain this form at least until January. Maintaining this form is extremely crucial for Solskjaer as United will look to add one or two players in January. Quality comes with your league position. If United are to add quality in January, they have to be in with a shout of finishing in the Top-4.
United have a relatively easy fixture list from now till Christmas. United face Spurs in this period. But, that is their only top-6 battle in this period. They have 6 home games in December including one each in the Europa League and in the Carabao cup. But, these supposed ‘Easy fixtures’ are where United struggle.
Ole’s record against the Top-6 opponents is staggering. It’s his record against teams that sit back and absorb pressure, that’s where this United team struggle.
Ole has to find goals from this squad in these two months. Goals against teams that sit back comes with creativity. United will be without chief creator Paul Pogba for at least one month. In this time, Ole has to get the maximum out of Juan Mata, Andreas Periera, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James. If Jesse Lingard can return to the form he usually shows at this time of the year, then it will be a big boost too.
Flexibility helps Solskjaer. He has to make more use of it.
Last week, in the aftermath of the Liverpool games, I wrote how Solskjaer’s flexibility with tactics and formations are his biggest strengths. In the last 3 games, Solskjaer has chosen formations and players based on the requirements of the game. That has to continue if United are to get through this phase with maximum efficiency.
United need to find goals. Simple as that. If they are to climb back to contend for Top-4 spots again, they need to score and add quality to their squad in January. For such a thing to happen, Ole has to start concentrating on something he had the least priority for, The Short-Term results.