Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be under increasing pressure but the Norwegian now has a clear idea of which players he can rely on. The Red Devils undone all the hard work carried out in the wake of the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham with back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir.
The two games were the perfect depiction of Solskjaer’s entire Old Trafford tenure.
With every step forward, there appears to be two steps back for United, who have struggled for consistency during large spells of Solskjaer’s 23-month reign.
Now the stakes are high with Mauricio Pochettino waiting in the wings if the United board are to pull the trigger on Solskjaer, who is currently in the firing line.
As the going gets tough, the United boss is unlikely to take risks when it comes to his starting XI and he’ll be desperate to settle on his best team.
Solskjaer will want to field players he can rely on which is why the likes of Paul Pogba currently find themselves on the bench.
Yet during an alleged time of crisis, Solskjaer has discovered two new undroppables who he can count on in the form of Luke Shaw and Fred.
The pair have been mainstays in the United team in recent weeks and have really upped their game under pressure.
Shaw has reacted positively to the arrival of Alex Telles from Porto, after urging Ed Woodward to strengthen the squad following the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
He has put his money where his mouth is and stepped up to the plate, turning in some fine performances.
Telles has also been absent after testing positive for COVID-19 but even if he was available, Solskjaer has had no reason to drop Shaw.
The former Southampton man impressed again on Saturday in the 3-1 win at Goodison Park but unfortunately sustained a hamstring injury.
He is now expected to miss around four weeks of action, halting his impressive progress this season.
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Meanwhile, Fred has been a revelation in midfield and finally looks the £52million player United signed from Shakhtar Donestk in 2018.
He has been playing in a slightly deeper role but has given United control in midfield.
The industrious Brazilian is now a guaranteed starter in midfield alongside Fernandes, leaving Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic to fight it out for the final spot in the engine room.
Both Shaw and Fred have endured a dramatic turnaround in recent months and they will be looking to maintain their fine form once club football returns, as Solskjaer looks to keep hold of his job.
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