Paul Scholes feels Manchester United will only challenge for honours once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets the balance right in midfield.
United have made an encouraging start to the campaign and sit fourth in the Premier League table after seven games. They are level on 14 points with Manchester City, Everton and Brighton while Chelsea are top ahead of Liverpool. The usual suspects occupy the top four and are expected to stay there for the majority of 2021-2022.
But only one club can lift the trophy, with City favourites to defend their title. Chelsea have been superb under Thomas Tuchel and could give Pep Guardiola’s side a run for their money.
The Red Devils are the outsiders of the quartet despite the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. Scholes feels the midfield is one area of the pitch that Solskjaer needs to work on.
The former England ace knows a thing or two about playing that position having graced Old Trafford for many years. He feels using two defensive midfielders at home is not the way to go.
And, with four players able to do a similar job, the 46-year-old has backed Scott McTominay to make the position his own.
“You mention McTominay, I think he’s the best one for that role out of the four of them, I’d definitely go for him,” he told Webby and O’Neill. “I think he’s got everything, he’s athletic, he can get around the pitch, he’s got great ability as well. He’s capable of sitting in that position.
“Ole doesn’t seem to be able to get the balance right in that team. Is he going to play that one with the rest around him, and have Pogba next to him who he probably doesn’t trust defensively? Or is he going to play two holding midfield players.
“That’s the difference between United and I think Liverpool and City – they are much more aggressive, more attack-minded.”
Scholes happy with United defence
United have scored 14 and conceded six top-flight goals this term. But they have picked up just a single point from their last two home encounters.
And Scholes wants the Norwegian tactician to take a leaf out of United’s rivals’ book to keep pace with the big guns.
“You think of City going away to Chelsea, they play one holding midfield player and almost play six or seven forward players – that’s the difference in mentality,” he added. “I think if Ole can get that right with that balance in the team, going forward I don’t think is a problem.”
Scholes does not feel there is too much wrong with the rest of the side. And he predicts big things for the club if a few tweaks can be made here and there.
“Defensively we look good again. I know Maguire is out injured but once he’s back which will be hopefully after the international break. Defensively we look great, everything’s there,” he continued.
“It just seems to be getting that one person in the middle of the pitch right, that balance of the team. But once he gets that, I think we’ll be alright.”