Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might have found a new untouchable
Manchester United made it five wins from five on Tuesday night as they scrapped past Kristiansund in their penultimate pre-season fixture.
Juan Mata’s late penalty saved the blushes for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his side after a hard fought encounter, but a tougher test should come against AC Milan this weekend.
United have just a week to go before the new Premier League season starts and ahead of the curtain opener Solskjaer has been given a few things to think about.
McTominay deserves to start
The absence of Paul Pogba from the start had some fans rightfully panicking, but worries were soon forgotten once Scott McTominay grew into the game.
McTominay has been perhaps the most consistent performer for Solskjaer’s side during pre-season and he reminded of his talents with a commanding first-half display on Tuesday night.
It is still rather unclear as to what the Scotland international’s best role is in the centre of the pitch but there was certain encouragement within the manner in which he attacked on the front foot.
There is still a place up for grabs in midfield against Chelsea next week and McTominay has made a strong case for it to be his position, regardless of any new summer signings.
A timely reminder
United players deserve a lot of credit for the manner in which they have gone about their business this summer. Amid the ongoing transfer speculation around the club there has been a real show of professionalism on the pitch, Phil Jones is one such example.
Injury to Eric Bailly opened the door for him to feature in midweek, and although many will be dreaming of Harry Maguire signing, Jones showed what he has to offer.
The English defender was lively at both ends of the pitch and gave the type of energetic performance which will have impressed the United manager.
Even if a player isn’t in the first-team plans next season Solskjaer will be crucial for them to give it their all once any opportunity arrives.
Lindelof keeps getting better
Playing against a mid table Norwegian league side is never going to be the best barometer for United’s progress this summer, but it is clear to see how confident Victor Lindelof is feeling.
The Swede enjoyed his return to Scandanavia with a composed performance at the back, albeit with minimal defending to do. What was most pleasing however was how comfortably he adapted to the new system and was happy to play out from the back whenever is required.
Three years after signing and it seems like United are set to finally see the best from the commanding centre back. It just remains to be seen who he lines up against next week.
The kids are alright
It was a bit disappointing to see none of United’s current academy stars in the starting XI when the team sheet dropped on Tuesday night. James Garner didn’t even travel to Norway for the match, while Angel Gomes was an unused substitute.
However, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood both rose to the challenge once introduced from the bench and showed Solskjaer exactly what he was missing.
Not only are the duo both excited to be on the pitch and keen to impress at every opportunity, but they have shown that they genuinely deserve to be there too. Chong is an exciting winger when played on the left and Greenwood again showcased his incredible footwork when cutting in from the right.
Chances in the first-team should improve for the duo next season and both have a fair chance of starting against Chelsea a week on Sunday.