Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes all five specialist midfielders at Manchester United are good enough to be regular starters.
United could welcome Paul Pogba back for his first appearance in 176 days against Tottenham on Friday night and January signing Bruno Fernandes has enhanced the midfield since Pogba last played on Boxing Day.
Nemanja Matic regained his place in the New Year and United triggered the one-year extension in his contract, Fred has started the last 22 Premier League matches and Scott McTominay made an impressive return after a two-month lay-off with a knee injury.
The Premier League’s decision to increase substitutes to nine for the remaining games this term allows Solskjaer to have all five midfielders available to pick from on a matchday, and Fernandes, Fred, McTominay, and Matic started in a diamond in the 1-1 draw with Everton in early March.
Solskjaer admitted that certain combinations would be dependent on the opposition, having switched to two holding midfielders and a playmaker in the last league win over Manchester City.
“I have got very good options,” Solskjaer said. “I am very happy with the squad. The five of them; any of them would be capable of playing a full season at Man United and being a regular.
“So it’s given me not a problem, but a nice challenge to choose and pick the right ones when they are in the right form when they are against the right opponents.
“Nemanja, Scott, Fred have had a fantastic turnaround, all of them. They have had a good season. Bruno came in with a great impact and Paul getting back fit can only help us because he does have qualities that no one else has.”
The reverse fixture against Spurs in December marked a crucial turnaround for Solskjaer, who went into the game with four wins in 14 league matches. United built on the triumph by defeating City in their next match and speculation over Solskjaer’s future subsided months ago.
Solskjaer expected a difficult first full season in charge but sees vindication in the 11-match unbeaten streak United are on as they prepare to resume their season.
“Doubts about being in this job a year after? No,” he stressed. “It’s just confirmed what we believe in. The team and the squad needed transition, it needed change and we have made that change, that cultural shift we believe in.
“To be honest, I’ve not lost a second of sleep because I do what I believe in and if that is not good enough then it’s not good enough, but I have always believed in what we do as a coaching staff and what we believe in as a club.
“We have a vision out there, and a plan we want to put into place. Let’s see now. These two months will be valuable for us.”
Source: Samuel Luckhurst| MEN