Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Stands by the Tactics He Used at Liverpool

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Tomorrow will see Manchester United take on the Liverpool for the second time in a week. Last Sunday, the result was a goalless draw at Anfield, in Premier League competition. This time, they’ll tangle at Old Trafford in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was criticized for the methods he employed against Liverpool, last time out. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher slammed his tactics and claimed they didn’t approach the game with any authority, and played it like a small team, not one that was top of the table at the time (and still is today).

Manchester United at Liverpool FA Cup 4th Round FYIs

Kick off: 5:00 pm GMT, Sun. Jan 24

Starting XI Predictions: United     Liverpool

Team news: United  Liverpool

TV: BBC

Key Stat: United’s most common opponent in this competition is Liverpool, as they’ve met 17 times previously

Series History: United wins 88 times, Liverpool wins 77, Draws 68

In responding to this criticism, Solskjaer also discussed Liverpool’s issues, which he says go far beyond just the injury to all world defender Virgil van Dijk.

“Yeah, Van Dijk is not there but everyone’s got an injury or two here or there,” Solskjaer said at a Friday news conference. “(Last time out) they had five midfielders there to play out plus a keeper who is very capable. We played against a top Liverpool team. It’s not easy.”

Liverpool have not scored a goal in league play in close to 450 minutes and have to do so in 2021. In fact, the only time they have scored in any match, in the new year, was against Aston Villa in the last round of the FA Cup competition, and that was against a Villa side playing with kids, due to their severe covid outbreak.

Solskjaer says he won’t take the Reds lightly, in spite of their struggles.

“We know it’s a difficult tie,” Solskjaer said. “I’m not the best on draws so I think they should try to get someone else in if they want an easy draw.”

He also hit back against the narrative of Carragher, and others who might say he played too conservative and cautious.

“We attacked every time we got the ball, maybe too much,” the Norwegian continued.

“We kept giving it away, that was the challenge. We went forward too quickly. The thought that we weren’t attacking, for me I don’t understand that one. We kept giving it away. It’s the quality of what we did, we need to do better.

“We tried to press them high. It’s not easy, they played well, they played their way out of our press. We didn’t go out there to drop deep and try to soak up the pressure. They had five midfielders out there to play out, plus a ‘keeper who is very capable.”

“When you look back at it, I think it was a good game by the two teams.”

OGS also went into a little more detail on where they currently stand after the result, the approach tomorrow and the long term focus.

“They (the forwards) are eager, of course, but it’s also a way we want to attack quickly. It’s not that you have to attack quickly every time, it’s a decision you’ve got to make there and then,” he added.

“Of course, it’s in our DNA that if you see a pass, do it. Do it well. I didn’t think we executed the passes well enough. Some of the runs were maybe too eager, especially at Anfield. I felt one or two times there we could’ve been one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

“For us, it’s about fine-tuning, getting better, getting used to each other. Edinson [Cavani] is new, Bruno’s not been here a year yet. We’ll get there.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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