United having also reserved their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, they will play twice a week for the remainder of the calendar year. It’s a timeline that will test Solskjaer’s confidence in his fringe players, especially since faith was lacking less than two months ago when the first XI was headed to the pit again and again instead. any suitable alternative.
On August 17, Solskjaer insisted he needed more depth in his squad ahead of a 2020/21 season that would rewrite the definition of match congestion.
“We have to build up the depth of the squad because it’s going to be a long season,” he said. “We’re going to keep pushing and demanding more players than we have, but we’re still looking to improve and it’s strange. The league starts very quickly, but then the [transfer] the market has been open for so long. So we have to be good, smart and smart at the same time. ”
When he faced the press on Friday morning, Solskjaer was now stressing that he was satisfied with his team. He was unlikely to ask for depth on the occasion, with the window closing on Monday, but the Norwegian seemed happy with what he saw in the Carabao Cup wins at Luton and Brighton.
“Of course, the performances last season didn’t justify me giving them too many options,” Solskjaer said. “I think the 11, 12, 13 players who played really and played really well deserved to play more and that means when you’re not playing you don’t get the fitness and sharpness you need to hit.” at the door to enter the team.
“I think it’s already a different scenario after two games. I saw a lot of other players who hadn’t played too much last season playing really well. ”
Some of these fringe players have performed well at Kenilworth Road and Amex Stadium, but the obvious caveat here is that they have beaten players who are not regularly on either Luton or Brighton squads. The real test of their ability to perform on bigger stages in bigger games will take place before the end of the year.
Solskjaer’s confidence in his squad comes from the fact that United have signed only one signing this summer, in the impressive Donny van de Beek. He is right to point out that the regular starting XI performed well after the season resumed in June, but they were tired towards the end of the Premier League season and in the Europa League in Germany, there was little confidence in bench options.
That same starting XI was assembled against Brighton in the Premier League last weekend. Right now, only Eric Bailly and Van de Beek look like team players who could be recruited without the standard dropping.
Solskjaer was right and wrong that August was going to be a long season. Long in terms of demands on players, short in terms of time to organize all these games.
He can’t push his favorite XI in every one of United’s Premier League and Champions League games over the next month and still expect them to happen in April and May.
Instead, changes are essential. Solskjaer’s confidence in his team will be tested as soon as possible.