Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bites back at Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes over formation criticism

MAN UTD boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hit back at criticism of his tactical prowess.

The Red Devils manager has seen his formations criticised with Old Trafford legends Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand particularly vocal.

But Solskjaer defended his tactical plans and said it would have even suited midfield great Scholes.

United head to basement boys Sheffield United on Thursday night on the back of a 0-0 Manchester derby draw and early Champions League exit.

Responding to formation criticism, Solskjaer said: "What was the change in formation then, you tell me?

"It was a 4-2-3-1 and coming into that pocket is probably Paul's favourite position. Paul did well and the team's shape was as it normally is.

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"Twice we played three at the back – we beat PSG and lost to Leipzig – we played a full game with a diamond and two half games with a diamond.
"Four out of 22 games isn't bad for consistency of a normal shape.

"That's what we work on more or less every day. Some details will change within the same system.

"If you have Dan James on the left wing instead of Paul Pogba, or Marcus Rashford on the right instead of Juan Mata, it's a different scenario.

"Sometimes you look at the opposition and where we need players with different qualities.

"I think they're coping well with it."

Solskjaer also said he owes Sheffield United a big thank you for the development of Dean Henderson.

The England new boy spent two years on loan at Bramall Lane – helping the Blades to promotion and then survive their first season in the top flight.

Now he is back with the Red Devils and is putting No 1 David de Gea under serious pressure, as well as challenging for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

And Solskjaer says United will reap the benefit in years to come of Chris Wilder’s work with Henderson, 23.

Solskjaer said: “It just shows how sometimes beneficial some loan deals are.

“Dean has worked his way up through the system and his years at Sheffield United have made him come back more mature.

“He had great experiences there – getting promotion and staying in the Premier League – and they were very valuable for us and him.

“He’s gone on to make his England debut.

“Back here he is learning more and more about the Manchester United style.

“It’s a bit different, there are different demands, but we are grateful to Sheffield United for giving him a chance to develop as he did.”

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