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You can't play Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes with 10 men | David Meyler

David Meyler joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball on Wednesday night to discuss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer...

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

15:21 16 Sep 2021



You can't play Paul Pogba and...
Soccer

You can't play Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes with 10 men | David Meyler

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

15:21 16 Sep 2021

David Meyler joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball on Wednesday night to discuss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tactics against Young Boys.

Solskjaer's team lost 2-1 after a late Jesse Lingard error set up Young Boys' winner. Until that point, it appeared that Manchester United would get away with a point. Solskjaer invited Young Boys onto the United defence by switching to five at the back at halftime.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka had been sent off during the first half, forcing United to play with 10 men.

The first question after Wan-Bissaka went off surrounded Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo scored the opening goal but isn't famous for his work rate at this stage of his career. Solskjaer has received criticism for not taking Ronaldo off earlier and for taking him off when he did. But where does Meyler fall on that scale?

"I wouldn't take him off, simply because it's Cristiano Ronaldo...If you're going to play that back five with the three in midfield, who better than Ronaldo if a chance comes his way to score. Still in world football, there's only probably two or three names that you'd put alongside him that would definitely score," he said.

"I'd have left him on for a significant period.

The question mark over Ronaldo is Ronaldo is not going to press from the front, he's not going to drop back and do his defensive work. That's not Cristiano Ronaldo that we know of over the last four or five seasons. Back in Madrid he'd have probably done a bit more.

There is that case that yes we bring him off...but I'd have certainly left Cristiano for a significant period because it's Cristiano, he'll get me a goal."

Keeping Ronaldo on the field was one decision that Meyler agreed with. But other changes were harder to understand.

"Where I think he got it wrong, he brings on Dalot that's fine.

Donny Van De Beek, I thought he was actually having quite a good game, I think he would have been one I would have left on. You can't afford to have Pogba and Bruno on in that situation because as good as they are going forward...those two aren't going to sit in and dig it out for you when you're under massive pressure.

They just got overrun in the middle and I don't think the back three helped them."

Changing to a back five has been a major point of contention in the wake of this result.

Meyler questioned if it was a plan that had any preparation or if it was just reactionary to the situation.

"Chelsea play a five at the back system as it is. They're used to it.

Since Tuechel came in, he's worked on that, they've gone through that. They'll have done session after session of 11 v 11s, they'll do 10 v 11s, they'll work on stuff like that. My problem is how often do United play a back five? Hardly ever.

We never see it. They've always played that 4-3-3.

I won't say they hit the panic button, but it was a case of 'okay we're 1-0 up, let's shore up our defence so we bring on Varane,' it just felt so unorthodox and unbalanced. The three of them – between Maguire, Varane and Lindelof – they didn't know where they were position wise...they felt like they were all over the place and they just couldn't get out."

Darren Murphy handed the reins at First Division Cobh Ramblers

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