Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals perfect Man Utd plan to unlock deep-lying defences

Date published: Friday 24th September 2021 5:07 - Matthew Briggs

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has the perfect plan for when teams drop deep against Manchester United and admits that Cristiano Ronaldo will not play every game this season.

Ronaldo has been sensational since arriving last month and has taken no time into settling into life in England once again.

The 36-year-old has blasted four goals in three games since signing from Juventus. And with Edinson Cavani missing, Ronaldo has proved the perfect replacement.

Cavani, 34, is back in the fold though on Saturday as United tackle Aston Villa at Old Trafford at lunchtime.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has admitted his excitement at having to try and contain Ronaldo. But his Villa side will not come to defend,

“Our job is to go there and go toe-to-toe with them like we did at Chelsea,” said Smith.

Speaking about Cavani, Solskjaer said: “Edinson has joined in training fully after that game [on Wednesday] and he’s held his hand up and is ready.

Manchester United's Edison Cavani reacts after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Fulham FC

“Last season as well, he didn’t have a pre-season when he came here. He’s so professional and meticulous. And, of course, we’re glad to now have him back training with us and in the squad.

“He’s in the squad tomorrow, he’s been training and now he feels ready to contribute. He came on against Wolverhampton. Then he got a slight strain in the international break when we had a game and he’s ready again.

“He’s worked really hard and diligently and hopefully he’ll have an impact as he did last season.” Ronaldo is expected to lead the line once more though with Cavani taking his place on the bench.

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“I think Cristiano has been used to that ever since he came to the club. Maybe more in the last 15 years of his career, in his first few years everyone tried to kick him because you wanted to stop him. And then he became such a top player everyone had to have an eye on him.

“His record shows already what an impact he has had with us and he is ready for that challenge. He’s so used to it, so no worries.

“But we’re a team. We know we’re more than just Cristiano and the players that I’ve got to choose from, if they have too much of an eye on Cristiano, there might be space for others.”


Asked whether the Portugal star was undroppable, Solskjaer said: “We knew he was going to have a great impact on and off the pitch.

“Cristiano is still so professional. The discipline he’s showed throughout his career to make the most of it has rubbed off on team-mates. I’ve been delighted, he’s a different man now to when I played with him.

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Solskjaer’s plan

“He’s been absolutely top, work-rate, attitude into games, communication. He knows he’s not going to play every game but that’s a good chat to have with me when he won’t be ready.”


Solskjaer though does have a plan to pair the veteran strikers together. It may not be against Villa, but the United boss does foresee a time when the pair may perfect together to unlock deep defences.

“It’s exciting and exciting to see those two together,” added Solskjaer. “I’m sure that’ll be a good partnership as well, we see teams dropping deep against us, not giving space in behind and they’re two boys you’d like to see in that scenario. I can see those two working well together.”

Only Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo are ruled out due to injury.

READ MORE: Reasons why Manchester United are now looking at Declan Rice alternatives

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