Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told to build Manchester United team around five players

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been urged to build his Manchester United team around five players by former Red Devils assistant Steve McClaren.

Solskjaer is still facing strong criticism from the Old Trafford faithful, with his United side winning just nine of their 25 league games this season and currently sitting eighth in the table.

McClaren, who was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistants at Manchester United, believes the current squad is lacking in ‘leaders’ but says Solskjaer can build around five players.

‘The first job is to get them characters of leadership, or people who can become leaders, back in at Old Trafford, back on that training ground,’ former England boss McClaren told Sky Sports.

‘Because the inconsistency in performance is an inconsistency of training day to day, Monday to Friday, where you need leaders continuously, continuously setting standards.

‘When I look at that back four, [David] De Gea, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka was a tremendous signing, [Victor] Lindelof getting better, [Harry] Maguire perfect, [Luke] Shaw, and the young boy [Brandon] Williams behind him is also a very, very good player.

‘So the back five are nice and solid and strong. What a base that is. You start from that, a great base.’

While praising Manchester United’s defence, McClaren said the problems for Solskjaer lie further up the pitch, particularly as Marcus Rashford is out with a back injury.

‘This is where they’ve been struggled [in midfield and attack],’ McClaren added. ‘Fred is getting better, more confident, but he likes to roam around.

‘None of their players likes to sit in there [in front of the defence]. [Bruno] Fernandes has a key role.

‘Where it looks wrong for me is further forward. [Anthony] Martial is not a number nine, he’s not a striker. He cannot play down the middle on his own.’

Manchester United played out a drab goalless draw with Wolves before the winter break and face top-four rivals Chelsea on Monday night.

Chelsea enjoyed a superb start to the season under club legend Frank Lampard but have won just one of their last five league matches.

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