Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told his Manchester United squad that he does not have a guaranteed strongest XI, as he defended his use of rotation.
Solskjaer made six changes to his lineup for United’s most recent game, a 1-0 win over Wolves. He is likely to shuffle things around again for their clash with Aston Villa on New Years’ Day.
With United looking to compete in the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup over the next few months, Solskjaer knows rotation will be vital.
For that reason, he is refusing to suggest some players are more important than others.
“We have a strong squad and have rotated a lot,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve not really called it a settled XI because I don’t think this season is going to be about that anyway.
“It’s going to be about the squad. It’s going to be about the 25 players.
“I think towards the end of the season that will help us. It has to be done this way.
“When you leave Scott [McTominay] and Fred out it’s not easy because they deserve to play every game, but Nemanja [Matic] and Paul [Pogba] played so well against Everton.
“Injuries and suspensions will happen, so I think our squad is well capable of being ready for every game.”
Solskjaer explains approach to rotation
Solskjaer knows all about how players can be affected by rotation. He was once dropped to the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson one game after scoring four goals.
However, the manager knows that players will have to deal with situations like that at a club of United’s level. He will pick the most appropriate players per match.
“It’s horses for courses,” he explained. “Some players you feel are more suitable for some teams but, of course, you do plan ahead.
“I remember those four goals and I remember also the times that you feel you deserve to play and you’re left out. That’s part of being at Man Utd.
“You’ve got top players everywhere. We know that throughout the season if you’re going to win something you have to contribute.
“Anto [Anthony Martial] came on and did well for half an hour, Luke [Shaw] came on and did really well [against Wolves]. That’s just the way it’s going to be.
“Players will have to be angry with me until the next time they play because, believe you me, they’re not happy when I tell them they’re starting on the bench.
“We have to know that so many games are decided towards the end. It’s very seldom that you can blow teams away and win by half-time. Then subs will come on and make a difference, that’s happened so many times for us.
“The belief is there and the discipline is there to play in a certain way. We’re getting more and more used to the way we want to play, and we know we’ve got players who can win you games in one second.
“One incredible pass or dribble, some skill. The belief is there more that we don’t have to press the panic button.”