Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly set to gamble on his Manchester United future by axing out-of-form defender Victor Lindelof for Wednesday’s ‘must-not-lose’ clash against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian is under huge pressure at Old Trafford after Sunday’s home draw against Aston Villa left the struggling Red Devils ninth in the Premier League, eight points off the top four and a whopping 22 adrift off bitter rivals Liverpool.
And with the club having made its worst start to a season in 31 years, a report on Tuesday morning claimed Solskjaer had told his players he could be axed if Mourinho’s revenge mission at Old Trafford proves successful.
An although Solskjaer used his presser on Tuesday morning to deny claims he feared the axe, reports have suggested he is pondering a significant alteration to his line-up with Lindelof set for the axe.
The 25-year-old Swede has been one of the club’s better players over the past 12 months and was rewarded with a new lucrative contract earlier this season as a reward for those efforts.
However, Lindelof has struggled to hit those heights in recent weeks and Metro reports there is a belief at United the player has rested on his laurels since signing that deal and that axing him from the side could be just the wake-up call he needs.
It’s believed Solskjaer has floated the idea with his coaches Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick and there is a growing belief that Axel Tuanzebe could be selected to start alongside £80m summer signing in the heart of the defence against Spurs on Wednesday.
Tuanzebe’s performances during pre-season were exemplary and his displays meant the club sanctioned the departure of Chris Smalling to join Roma on loan due to the promise the 22-year-old had shown since returning from a stint at Aston Villa.
However, despite the belief they have in Tuanzebe, the player has had limited opportunities to prove his worth in the side. But selection against Tottenham will afford the 22-year-old the perfect chance to stake his claim to be considered a regular central defensive partner to Maguire in the rearguard.
“As a defender especially, it’s frustrating. We haven’t really conceded many chances or goals prior to the last two games and then we’ve conceded five.
“The attackers have scored five and we’ve ended up coming away with two points.
“It’s disappointing, especially as a defender. It’s something that we’ll work on but it’s not like we were conceding lots and lots of chances (against Villa).
“I felt every time we went forward in the second half, we were going to score. We caused them numerous problems.
“The first half wasn’t good enough but the second half was better but it’s disappointing to draw at Old Trafford.”