Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proved Jose Mourinho was right | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

19 January, Saturday


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proved Jose Mourinho was right

Man Utd beat Reading in the FA Cup to reach the fourth round and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added another string to his managerial bow.

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Players not taking their chance

Solskjaer made nine changes and when the team-sheet dropped it looked like the perfect opportunity for a number of players to prove a point as to why they should be in contention to start each week.

Fred and Andreas Pereira in particular were two players who have lacked game time this season and should have been out to show why Jose Mourinho had been wrong to sideline them but they failed their auditions again.

Misplaced passes, some poor decision making and lacking in quality, things just didn't click for the pair. There were players who were as poor as the duo but out of everyone in the team it was the Brazilians who needed to prove a point to Solskjaer most. They might have to wait until the next round to be given another opportunity.

Job done

When the board went up at the end of the first half to announce five minutes of additional time there were a few groans around the ground and after the first half performance. For all the exciting, attacking football United have played in recent weeks this game was not in that bracket.

United missed creativity in midfield and before the penalty the home side hadn't done anything to test Anssi Jaakkola in net for Reading. The performance wasn't vintage and it definitely wasn't pretty but United dug in and got the result they needed.

A change from the attacking flair Solskjaer's side have shown in recent weeks but a result just as important as the four before.

Youth

Solskjaer said when he took over that he wanted to keep promoting youth players to the first team in keeping with the club's traditions and so far he's stuck to his word. Angel Gomes was in his first two match-day squads while Tahith Chong travelled to Newcastle. And with half an hour to go against Reading he was handed his United first team debut.

The move by Solskjaer not only proved he is prepared to stick to his word but also showed his faith in Chong's ability and should reassure the rest of the U23s looking to push into the first team.

More often that not managers make decisions to bring youth team players on with barely any time remaining to give them a taste of football under the lights at Old Trafford. Mourinho did it with Angel Gomes in the final game of the 16/17 season. But Solskjaer trusted Chong with 30 minutes down the right.

Testament to Chong's ability as much as Solskjaer's philosophy.

VAR

It took video referees two minutes and five seconds to award United a spot kick after Juan Mata was fouled in the area. The Spaniard stepped forward to put away the penalty moments after it was finally awarded and United took the lead.

Clearly the introduction of video referees is a step in the right direction and we're still in the teething part of the process but there's a big risk of dragging the excitement out of a game with the length of time it takes to make a decision.

 
 

Manchester Evening News

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